Spotlight on 5 Sustainable U.S. Shellfish Farms that are Getting It Right

By Rowan Jacobsen, "Digging Dinner," May/June 2011

What's not to love about healthy and succulent farmed mussels, clams and oysters?

Despite this, many people don't cook shellfish, which has always surprised me. Few foods are so easy to prepare, so healthy and so likely to put a goofy smile on every diner's face. When guests are nigh, shellfish are my go-to dish. I toss a can of coconut milk and a spoonful of Thai curry paste into a pot, add hard-shell clams, simmer for five or ten minutes, dump the whole lot into a big bowl, supply a loaf of crusty bread for sopping up that lip-smacking sauce, and presto! For way less than a restaurant dinner, happiness reigns. Oysters and mussels are equally easy. They need little more than a quick rinse under running water and a few minutes of cooking time. When their shells pop open, they're done!

But I have to admit, as I finished my oyster and tossed its shell back onto the flats, neither convenience, health, nor finances were much on my mind. The briny taste lingered in my mouth, the salt air filled my lungs. I'd kissed the sea on the lips, and all I wanted was to do it again.

Rowan Jacobsen's previous books include A Geography of Oysters and American Terroir. His latest is Shadows on the Gulf: A Journey Through Our Last Great Wetland (Bloomsbury USA, 2011).

Next: 4 More U.S. Shellfish Growers Getting It Right »

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