You know where to get the freshest seafood, but what do you need for prepping and cooking fish and shellfish? A few good kitchen tools will come in very handy, and the right pieces will last you for years to come.
Here’s what professional cooks keep in their own kitchens—from basics to seafood-specific accessories, we’ve got you covered.
Both wooden and plastic cutting boards have their place in a well-used kitchen, so it’s your preference.
End-grain wooden blocks are stable enough to chop on without slipping and are easier on your knife blade than edge-grain boards or plastic boards. Try this acacia wood block that’s attractive enough to leave on your counter all the time.
If you choose plastic, look for a heavier weight board that won’t slip on your counter, like this cutting board with nonslip edges.
Whichever you choose, pick a large board, but not one that’s too big to fit in your sink or dishwasher. (Wooden boards should only be washed by hand, so you should be able to maneuver it.)
A steel 8-inch chef’s knife is the standard size knife that will feel comfortable in most cooks’ hands. It provides enough weight to chop through lobster tails and bodies, while giving you enough control to finely mince herbs and garlic.
A paring knife is another crucial knife to have on hand, as it will work wonders on deveining shrimp and offers more dexterity than seafood scissors.
Cast Iron Skillet
Why choose cast iron over nonstick? Because it’s so durable it will last a lifetime, it’s incredibly easy to clean, and actually gets better and builds up its seasoning the more you use it.
Basic cast iron skillets come pre-seasoned and wipe clean with hot water, while enameled cast iron skillets can be hand-washed with soap. A 10-inch size will fit 2 fillets with room to move.
Though it’s called a fish spatula, this flexible, grooved metal spatula can actually be used for almost any flipping or turning task on your stove or grill. The design of this spatula is key for getting under delicate fish fillets without tearing the skin or flaking the fillet apart.
Seafood Crackers and Picks
Because you want to get every last morsel of lobster and crab out of that shell, right? A set of seafood crackers and picks are time-savers for getting through hard shells and working the sweet meat out of every crevice.
Don’t use your paring knife for this task! An oyster knife is designed specifically with a curve in its blade to slip between the shells and hinge open that precious bivalve without destroying the meat inside.
This goes hand-in-hand with the oyster knife (get it?). Instead of using a folded bar towel, this metal woven glove lets you hold the oyster tightly in your palm for easier control when shucking. Buy two and give one to a friend to make shucking go faster!