Cooking Crustaceans and Molluscs


Characteristics: Low oil content. Distinctive subtle flavour. Dense white flesh that may need tenderising. Succulent when properly cooked. Canned, whole.

Cooking Method: Casserole, deep fry, shallow fry, patties, soup, steam, stir fry.

Dave’s Secret Abalone Recipe

Never slice and tenderise each slice of abalone again!

1. Freshly shucked abalone. 

2. Place in a strong plastic bag. 

3. Take out to the woodpile and place on the cutting block and give a decent tap with the back of the block buster-the abalone will split, you can give some additional slighter taps around the skirt. 

4. Take out of the bag and place in a bowl. 

5. Marinate for an hour in soy sauce, fish sauce, fresh chilli, coriander and ginger. 

6. Place on a preheated hot barbeque plate with a bit of oil, flip after 1-2 minutes.  After another minute, slice up on the barbeque plate into bite size pieces, give a quick toss on the hot plate and pass around as finger food.

Rock Lobster

Characteristics: Low oil content. Delicate flavour. Firm white flesh. Whole - uncooked or cooked, cooked or uncooked tails, lobster / cray meat.
Cooking Method: Barbeque, grill, simmer, steam or according to recipe.

Fresh Boiled Rock Lobster

Chill the live rock lobster down in the freezer for an hour to render it unconscious.  Cook by boiling it in a large pot in clean seawater.  If saltwater is not available, make salted tapwater by adding 1 tablespoon salt for every litre of water.

Boiling times:
600-800 grams: 9 to 10 minutes
800-1000 grams: 11 to 12 minutes
1 kilo: 12 minutes
For every 100 grams over 1 kg add another minute
2 kilos +: 22 minutes
For every 100 grams over 2 kilograms, add another 45 seconds

The lobster is properly cooked when the shell turns a brighter red and the meat is creamy white with no translucent areas. Put the lobster in a bowl of ice to stop the cooking process.  Plunging it in cold water can let water into the body cavity, diluting the fresh lobster flavour.


Characteristics: Low oil content. Mild flavour. Similar texture to squid though more dense. Needs to be tenderised, then skinned. Prepare whole (if small), or cut into suitable portions depending on recipe.

Cooking Method: Bake, barbecue (small octopus), casserole, marinate.

Marinated Octopus Greek Style

1 prepared octopus approx 1 kg, cut into bite sized pieces; 1 cup red wine vinegar; 1 tsp dried oregano or fresh oregano; ¼ cup sugar; 1 tsp salt; 1 lemon cut into 8 pieces; ½ cup olive oil; 2 tbsp lemon juice; lettuce leaves, black olives, cucumber slices, tomato wedges.

Place octopus in large glass jar.  Bring vinegar, oregano, sugar and salt to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes.  Pour over octopus, add lemon and oil.  Marinate for 24 hours.  Drain well and toss in oil and lemon juice.  Place in lettuce leaves and decorate with black olives, cucumber slices and tomato wedges.

Squid and calamari

Characteristics: Low oil content. Excellent protein content. Delicate flavour. Firm texture, tender when cooked correctly. Crumbed rings, hoods or whole.

Cooking Method: Bake, barbeque, casserole, deep fry, grill, marinate, shallow fry, stir fry.

Salt and Pepper Squid

Squid mantles, hoods and legs, arms, tentacles; 1 cup plain flour; ¼ cup semolina (optional-makes crispier squid); 1 tsp salt; 1 tsp ground black pepper; 1 tsp Chinese five-spice; ½ tsp chilli powder (optional); 2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce or 1 tsp of chopped chilli; ½ cup soy sauce; frying oil; lemon wedges and sliced fresh red chilli (optional), to serve.

Cut one side of the hood lengthways so it opens out flat.  With a sharp knife score the inner surface diagonally and then diagonally in opposite directions to form a chris-cross pattern.  Cut into strips about 2 cm wide.  Reduce length of strips to a maximum of 5 cm.  Dry with paper towel.

Tentacles can also be used.  Enclose tentacles in a clasped fist and quickly pull through your fist to strip the discs off the suckers.  Cut to about 3-5 cm in length.  Combine the flour, semolina, salt, pepper, Chinese five-spice and chilli powder in a bowl or food grade bag.  Place a few pieces of squid in the mixture at a time and toss around to coat the squid.  Mix sweet chilli sauce or sliced chilli with soy sauce in a small container.

Heat oil in pan to very hot.  Remove squid pieces from flour mixture and shake off excess.  Place in pan and cook quickly (about 2 minutes).  Tentacles may require about 4-5 minutes depending on size.  Cook in batches if necessary.  Place cooked squid pieces on paper towel.
Serve with lemon wedges.  Dip or pour the chilli soy sauce mix over the squid depending on taste.

Marinated Calamari Rings

500g calamari rings, 1/3 cup lemon juice, 1/3 cup olive oil, 2 cloves garlic, crushed, 2 tbsp chopped parsley.

Drop calamari into rapidly boiling water, reduce heat, simmer gently until tender.  Combine lemon juice and oil, add to calamari, mix well, cover and refrigerate overnight.  Next day, add garlic and parsley to marinade and leave to stand for 2 hours.  Serve as an appetiser.


Characteristics: Low oil content. Sweet flavour. Firm white flesh when cooked. Uncooked or cooked in shell, peeled uncooked or cooked.

Cooking Method: Barbeque, grill, deep fry, shallow fry, stir fry.

Garlic Prawns

500g green prawns, shelled but with tail on; 4 tbsp butter; 4 tbsp oil; 2 tsp lemon juice; 4-8 cloves garlic, finely chopped; 1 tsp salt; ¼ tsp chilli powder (optional); black pepper, parsley.

Heat 4 individual ovenproof dishes in oven at 250°C for 10 minutes.  Heat butter, oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, chilli powder and pepper in a saucepan until sizzling.  Place equal amounts in preheated dishes and add prawns.  Return to oven for about 3-5 mins depending on size of prawns.  Served sprinkled with parsley together with hot crusty bread.


Characteristics: Low oil content. Rich, distinctive flavour. Fine, succulent, tender texture when cooked correctly. Shucked, fresh or frozen.

Cooking Method: Bake, barbecue, deep fry, grill, marinate, poach, shallow fry, stir fry.

Pan Seared Tasmanian Scallops

About 16 scallops, 2 tsp olive or sesame oil, 2 tsp butter, sea salt and ground black pepper.

Remove the muscle from the scallops, rinse with cold water and dry thoroughly.  Season the scallops with the salt and pepper.  Heat a small frying pan and add the butter and oil.  When the pan begins to smoke, add the scallops. Sear them for 60-90 seconds on each side.  The scallops should have a golden crust on each side but still be translucent in the middle.  Serve immediately.

Nanna’s Curried Tassie Scallops

500 g scallops (about 30 scallops); 600 ml milk; 60 grams butter; 1 tbsp of curry powder (mild rather than hot); 1 tbsp of cornflour; pinch of salt and pepper.

Combine cornflour and curry powder.  Mix with a little milk forming a smooth slurry.  Place mixture in a saucepan, with the butter and add the remaining milk while whisking.  Simmer for a few minutes, while the mixture thickens.  Add scallops and simmer for 2- 3 minutes.  Add salt and pepper according to taste.

Honey Sesame Scallop Skewers

½ kg or about 30 Tassie scallops; 1 tbsp soy sauce; 2-3 tbsp lime or lemon juice; 1 tbsp honey (try leatherwood); ½ tsp freshly grated ginger; 2 tbsp sesame seeds; 1 tbsp olive oil; cooking oil for pan; wooden skewers.

Combine soy sauce, oil, lime or lemon juice, honey, and ginger in a medium bowl or food grade plastic bag. Add scallops and toss to coat.  Refrigerate and leave to marinate for about 1 hour.  Coat a pan or baking dish with cooking oil and place in preheated griller or pan.

Remove scallops from marinade, reserving marinade. Thread scallops on skewers. Place skewers on oiled baking dish.  Grill or fry for about 2-4 minutes while turning skewers and basting with the marinade until cooked until opaque. Roll the skewer over sesame seeds. 


Characteristics: Low oil content. Distinctive flavour. Texture unlike other molluscs, a unique balance between soft and firm. Live in shells or on half shells.

Cooking Method: Bake, deep fry, grill, smoked, natural, soups.

Oysters Kilpatrick

24 oysters in half shells; 4 rashers bacon, finely chopped; 4 tbsp Worcestershire sauce; lemon juice; chopped parsley; salt and pepper to taste.

Place oysters on shells on grill pan.  Preheat grill.  Sprinkle each oyster with salt and pepper, ½ tsp chopped bacon, ½ tsp Worcestershire sauce and a squeeze of lemon juice.  Cook under hot grill until bacon is crisp.  Sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Chilli Parmesan Oysters

As many oysters as you wish to prepare, sweet chilli sauce, parmesan cheese, freshly grated.

Pop a little sweet chilli sauce on each oyster and top with parmesan, place under a hot grill and grill until cheese has melted and browned a little. Serve with a wedge of lemon and cracked black pepper.

Seafood Sauce for Oysters Au Naturel

3 tbsp mayonnaise; 2 tbsp good quality tomato sauce; 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce; dash of Tabasco sauce; salt and pepper; ¼ cup cream.

Combine all ingredients and mix to a smooth creamy paste.


Characteristics: Low oil content. Distinctive flavour. Tender and juicy with correct cooking. Steam open then use as directed by recipe. Live in shall, smoked, steamed on half shell.

Cooking Method: Barbecue, grill, marinate, pickle, smoke, soups, steam.

Mussels with White Wine and Cream

Recipe courtesy: Spring Bay Seafoods

1kg mussels; 15g butter; ½ red onion diced; 1 clove garlic chopped; freshly ground pepper; sprig of thyme; bay leaf; 100ml white wine; 150ml cream; ¼ cup parsley.

Heat heavy based pot with lid over low heat, add butter, when melted add onion, garlic and pepper.  Cook for 2-3 minutes until onion is soft.  Increase heat to high, add thyme, bay leaf, cream and wine and cook for 3-4 minutes until liquid has reduced by 1/3.  Add mussels to mixture, stir and put on lid.  Cook for 3 minutes until mussels open. Sprinkle over parsley and serve with cooking liquids.

Clams (pipis)

Sally's Pasta with Baby Clams

500g Tasmanian katelysia clams; 350g pasta (spaghetti works well); 2 tbsp olive oil; 30g butter; 3-4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped; ½ chilli, finely chopped; 100ml dry white wine; lots of parsley, roughly chopped.

Purge the clams as described above and scrub them if necessary to remove algae or grit.  Put the olive oil and butter in a large pan and saute the garlic and chilli briefly.  Put the pasta into salted boiling water to cook.  When the pasta is half cooked, add the clams to the garlic and chilli pan, and turn up to medium heat.  Pour in the wine, cover and leave for 3-5 minutes until most of them have opened.  Remove any clams that do not open.  Drain the pasta when cooked and add to the pan.  Toss the clam mixture through and add the chopped parsley.

Fish illustrations by Peter Gouldthorpe