Clams, crabs and shrimp are excellent sources of lean protein that are low in saturated fat, offering healthy alternatives to beef and pork. Here are some recipes using this seafood, adapted from the Mariner’s Menu: 30 Years of Fresh Seafood Ideas seafood resource book by Joyce Taylor.

For an appetizer, clam dip comes together effortlessly and goes well with crackers or vegetable sticks. A crab soup starts with a rich tomato-based foundation that is enhanced with savory herbs and spices.

On the lighter side, tender, steamed shrimp with a soy-ginger sauce can be served as an appetizer or the main course. Just remember when preparing any of these dishes not to overcook the shellfish.

To get a copy of Mariner’s Menu, check local bookstores. Order a copy from North Carolina Sea Grant by calling 919-515-9101. For more ideas and recipes, check the Mariner’s Menu blog at — Vanda Lewis


Clam Dip

Clam Dip. Photo by Vanda Lewis.

We’ve found that some of the simplest appetizers taste best. Simplicity also shortens preparation time. And many of the recipes, such as cold spreads and dips, can be prepared ahead of time. In fact, they often taste better when made a day before serving.

Blend together cream cheese, lemon juice, onion, Worcestershire, Tabasco, salt and parsley. Add clams and mix well. Add reserved liquid until desired consistency is reached. Chill thoroughly. Serve with assorted crackers and chips. Makes about 2 cups.


Crab Soup Deluxe

Crab Soup Deluxe. Photo by Vanda Lewis.

Seafood soups, such as stews, chowders and bisques offer a variety of delicious meals. They can look elegant, too, as many recipes call for ingredients such as clams in the shell, soft or hard crabs, or shrimp in the shell.

Remove any shell or cartilage from crabmeat.

Melt margarine in large saucepan over medium heat. Sauté onion and garlic until tender, but not brown. Add tomatoes, salt, pepper, Tabasco, marjoram, thyme, lemon juice and lemon zest. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes until flavors are mingled and tomato liquid is reduced. Add parsley and crabmeat. Heat thoroughly, but do not overcook crabmeat. Serve immediately. Serves 8 to 10.


Steamed Shrimp with Soy-Ginger Sauce

Steamed Shrimp with Soy-Ginger Sauce. Photo by Vanda Lewis.

Steaming offers one of the best preparation methods for accenting the natural tastes of seafood. The delicate textures and pure flavors are enhanced because the seafood cooks in its own liquid. And any seafood can be steamed — fillets, steaks, dressed fish, and shellfish in the shell or shucked.

Prepare Soy-Ginger Sauce and set aside for flavors to mingle.

Mix tarragon, salt, celery seed and cayenne in small bowl. Place shrimp in single layer on oiled steamer rack. Sprinkle with the seasoning mix. Place in refrigerator for 30 minutes. Bring beer to boil in bottom of steamer. Place rack in steamer and cover. Steam until shrimp are done, about 5 minutes. Serve with sauce for dipping.

Serves 3 to 4.

Soy-Ginger Sauce

In small bowl, combine oil, soy sauce, green onion and ginger. Mix well. Place in individual serving containers. Use as dipping sauce.

This article was published in the Summer 2014 issue of Coastwatch.

For contact information and reprint requests, visit