What Are Mollusks? A Guide to Enjoying Clams, Oysters, Scallops, Mussels, Squid + More! | Dish on Fish
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What Are Mollusks? A Guide to Enjoying Clams, Oysters, Scallops, Mussels, Squid + More!

Hello again, Seafoodies!

Do you like mollusks? We are talking about clams, oysters, mussels and squids! All are part of the mollusk family. Full of flavor and rich in important nutrients, this seafood is unique, sustainable and deliciously versatile. Read on as we break down all there is to know about mollusks, and how to easily incorporate them into your diet. 

Types of Mollusks and Their Health Benefits:


Clams are popular for their flavor, versatility and high nutrient value. Wow – just one 3-ounce serving of clams provides about two-thirds of the daily value (DV) of iron, a vital mineral that helps to fight fatigue and support immune health. Clams are an excellent source of complete proteins, which helps with muscle building and repair. Additionally, clams provide vitamin B-12 necessary for nerve function, as well as other important nutrients, like selenium, magnesium, vitamin C, copper, phosphorus, and riboflavin – all crucial in maintaining optimal health. To get more nutrient-rich clams in your diet, try adding them to sauces, soups and appetizers.


Revered for their light taste and tender consistency, mussels are rich in vitamins and minerals that play a big role in your overall health. Like most seafood, mussels are low in both sodium and saturated fat. But the benefits do not stop there! Each serving of mussels provides a healthy dose of vitamin B-12, selenium, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids. Farm-raised mussels are a sustainable and plentiful in the U.S. You have likely seen mussels featured as starters on restaurant menus, but it’s a starter that eats like a meal. And mussels are so easy and impressive to prepare at home!


Scallops, like mussels, are a great source of magnesium. Plus, scallops provide potassium, a mineral that helps regulate fluid balance and maintain a healthy heart and brain. They have a wonderful level of potassium, which is crucial for maintaining both a healthy heart and brain. Scallops work to encourage blood vessel relaxation (through its high count of healthy fatty acids), this in turn helps control blood pressure and enhance blood circulation. Scallops are 80 percent lean protein, which helps make them filling and satisfying. In fact, one 3-ounce serving of scallops provides a whopping 20 grams of protein in less than 100 calories, making them a prime protein pick. To sizzle the perfect scallops: Avoid excess water, the enemy when you are trying to get a good home sear on a scallop. Talk to your fish monger about the best options!


When it comes to packing a punch in a small bite, oysters shine! Oysters offer a host of health benefits and serious flavor—it’s no wonder they’re a global culinary favorite. Offering an amazing amount of health benefits (essential vitamins and minerals), proteins, and flavor – it’s no wonder they are prized all over the world. Sweet in taste and versatile with toppings, it seems as though each oyster fan has their preferred serving method. In addition to their taste, there are many reasons to love oysters. Nutritionally speaking, oysters are rich in protein, vitamin D (for healthy bones, teeth and muscles), zinc (which supports immune health by helping to fight off harmful bacteria and viruses) and iron and copper (which work together to help carry oxygen to our brain and maintain cell health). Sweet in taste and versatile, oysters vary in flavor by region. Each part of the country has a unique oyster flavor profile or brininess based on the region’s waterways and climate. Oh, reputable fisheries have verified that you can forget that old wives’ tale that you should only eat oysters in months with an R. So, you can enjoy them all year-round!


Often referred to as calamari, squid is tasty and nutritious. Like other mollusks, squid contains numerous vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B-12, potassium, iron, phosphorus, and copper. These nutrients work synergistically to promote healthy blood cells, strong bones, and optimal immune system. Whether its flash fried, air-fried or grilled – we love squid.

Purchasing Mollusks:

Thanks to retailers and fish mongers across the country, the guess work has been taken out of taking home spectacular clams, mussels and oysters. Below, we have provided a simple breakdown of what to look for during your next shopping trip:

Mollusks with Shells (Clams, Mussels and Oysters)

  • Shells should be intact without chips or nicks—to protect the meat inside.
  • Mollusk shells should be sealed closed. Clams and mussels will open naturally when they are cooked. Discard any shells that do not open during cooking. Oysters should be consumed or cooked as soon as the shell is opened.
  • Mollusks should smell like the ocean. If it smells fishy or has an ammonia odor, avoid.
  • Keep the shells cold until you are ready to cook or consume.
  • Our mussel recipe shows you how to remove the “beard!”


  • Scallops should also smell like the ocean.
  • For a perfect sear, ask for dry scallops.
  • Look for scallops that have translucent meat (casting a perfect white hue).


  • Squid should smell fresh like the ocean and not fishy.
  • The squid should have both clear and smooth skin.
  • For convenience, purchase cleaned squid that has been cut into rings. The tentacles are edible!

Enjoying Mollusks:

Luckily, once you’ve picked out the perfect assortment try one of our favorite recipes for oysters, mussels, clams or scallops.

Char-Grilled Honey Parmesan Oysters

A 180-degree twist on your traditional oyster platter! Change up your routine raw oyster with a tangy and vinegar bite in these sweet, decadent, and grilled honey oysters sprinkled with parmesan. Your taste buds will not be disappointed! 

Mussels with White Wine Sauce

This decadent experience of eating mussels bathed in white wine (straight from the shell) is a gourmet experience in itself! The bonus of knowing you are eating a healthy and nutritious meal is the icing on the cake. 

Baked Stuffed Clams

With a touch of sweet and a dash of savory, these stuffed clams are one of our most beloved Dish on Fish recipes. Not only are clams delicious to eat, they are nutrient superstars! Loaded with lean sources of protein and healthy omega-3 fatty acids, these baked stuffed clams will make a great addition to any culinary occasion. 

Air Fryer Calamari 

Thanks to the help of the handy air fryer, fresh and crispy calamari is no longer a restaurant-only staple. You can also enjoy this amazing appetizer dish from the comforts of your own home. Bonus points for getting creative with the side of sauces!

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