Shellfish allergies are the most common allergy among adults in America, and they are more likely than most other allergies to manifest for the first time in adults. Shellfish allergies are allergies to two classes of foods: mollusks (which include clams, mussels, and oysters) and crustaceans (which include shrimp, lobster, and crabs). Although these two groups are fairly distant biological relatives, there is a high rate of allergic cross-reactivity between the two. So, many people who are allergic to any shellfish are advised to avoid all shellfish. Shrimp is the considered the most allergenic.
Shellfish Substitutes For People with Allergies
If you are one of the many with this problem or you have a loved one who does, here are three foods that you can substitute for shellfish and some recipes to try made with them.
Surimi As a Crab & Lobster Substitute
A fish-based food product intended to mimic the texture and color of the meat of a lobster, crab, and other shellfish. It is typically made from white-fleshed fish (such as pollock or hake) that has been pulverized to a paste and attains a rubbery texture when cooked.
Recipe: Surimi with Vegetables
- 2 cups rice, cooked
- 1 cup leeks, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup tomatoes, chopped
- 2 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 pounds surimi chunks
- 1/2 cup white wine
1. Put rice in a 1-1/2-quart ovenproof casserole and sprinkle with half of the leeks, half of the garlic, half of the tomatoes and half of the parsley.
2. Add the bay leaf and surimi.
3. Sprinkle with the remaining leeks, garlic, tomatoes, and parsley.
4. Add the wine, cover tightly, and bake, covered, at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes.
5. To serve, mound the vegetables on plates and arrange surimi strips over them. Serves 4
Monkfish as a Substitute for Lobster Tail
This is the English name of a number of types of fish in the northwest Atlantic, most notably the species of the anglerfish genus Lophius and the angel shark genus Squatina. The term is also occasionally used for a European sea monster more often called a sea monk. In Europe and North America, the texture of the tail meat of fish of the genus Lophius, is sometimes compared to lobster tail and has been alluded to as the “poor man’s lobster,” although today it commands prices equivalent to, and in some cases exceeding lobster and other marine delicacies.
Recipe: Roast Monkfish Tail
- 2 1/2 lb (1.1kg) monkfish tail
- 1 small onion
- 2 tablespoons virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1/3 teaspoon ground anise or star anise
- 4 tablespoons dry vermouth Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 12 cherry tomatoes Coriander sprigs for garnish (optional)
1. Remove the tough gray skin and pink membrane from the monkfish tail. Wash and dry the fish and secure it evenly with fine string, so that its shape is held during cooking.
2. Finely chop the onion, and heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Saute the onion, fennel seeds, ground anise or star anise in the pan for 2 – 3 minutes, until the onion is transparent.
3. Add the monkfish to the frying pan and cook for about 5 minutes, until the fish is sealed on all sides. Remove from the heat, pour over the vermouth and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
4. Transfer the contents to a roasting tin or gratin dish, placing the monkfish on the top, and roast in the oven for 30 minutes.
5. Add the tomatoes to the roasting tin or gratin dish, and cook for a further 5 minutes, then remove from the oven and garnish the fish with coriander sprigs, if desired.
6. Serve immediately from the gratin dish. Serves 4.
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Salsify As An Oyster Substitute
Tragopogon porrifolius is a plant cultivated for its ornamental flower, edible root, and herbal properties. It also grows wild in many places and is one of the most widely known species of the salsify genus, Tragopogon. It is commonly known as purple or common salsify, oyster plant, vegetable oyster, Jerusalem star, goatsbeard or simply salsify. The root is noted for tasting of oysters, from which the plant derives its alternative name of oyster plant; young roots can be grated for use in salads, but older roots are better cooked, and they are usually used in soups or stews. It is recommended that when using the root that, if cut, its color be preserved in acidulated water.
Recipe: Salsify Croquettes
- 1 to 1 1/2 pounds salsify
- 1 lemon
- 1/2 pound white potatoes (they must be white)
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/4 cup milk or cream (NOT skim milk)
- 1/2 teaspoon thyme leaves
- 2 beaten eggs
- 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
- Oil for frying (Canola, peanut or vegetable)
1. Squeeze the lemon into a large bowl of cold water, and bring a pot of salted water to a boil.
2. Peel the scorzonera (oyster plant, salsif..you know what I mean..) one at a time and put each root into the water. When you’re done, cut each root into short discs and put into the boiling water.
3. Peel the potatoes, cut into pieces roughly the same size as the oyster plant and add them to the boiling water” this method ensures that both are soft at about the same time.
4. Boil both veggies for 30 minutes or so; the salsify will take longer to soften than the potatoes.
5. When they are ready, mash with the butter, thyme and a little of the milk or cream: You want the mash to be pretty solid, not super smooth or wet.
6. Get enough oil to reach up about 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch up the sides of a frying pan, and begin heating it to 350 degrees.
7. When the mash is cool enough to handle, grab some and form it into flat discs. Dip into the egg mixture and then into the panko bread crumbs (you really do want panko breadcrumbs, which are very coarse; it’s a texture thing.) and BE GENTLE, as this is not a very solid mass. Slide the croquette gently into the hot oil.
8. Fry until golden brown, about 2 minutes, then flip and cook the other side. When they’re all a lovely golden brown, drain the croquettes on a rack and serve at once. Serves 4 as a side dish.
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