How to Eat Fish and Seafood

Lobster

A whole lobster in its shell will typically arrive at your table already cut into two halves, allowing easy access to the flesh for your knife and fork. It is also fine to use just your fork while holding the shell steady with your hand.

The big claws usually come cracked but if not you will need to use special lobster crackers. Once you've cracked the claws pull out the meat with a fork. If you want to get meat out of the smaller attachments use a lobster pick. If you are daunted by the extrication process, opt for lobster thermidor; the white meat is extracted, cooked and then served in the shell.

Mussels

Use an empty mussel shell as a pincer to extract the other mussels from their shells. Using a fork is also perfectly acceptable. The sauce around the mussels can be mopped up with pieces of bread or with a spoon. Put all empty shells on the spare plate provided and use the fingerbowl as required. Dip your fingers into a fingerbowls one hand at a time, rub gently to remove any stickiness and then dry them on your napkin.

Eating a whole Fish

Work down one side of the spine at a time, from head-end to tail-end. Ease mouthful-sized pieces from the fish. Never flip the fish over to reach the flesh on the underside - lift the entire bone up and gently ease the flesh out from beneath. Small bones should be removed from the mouth with fingers and placed on the side of the plate. When in doubt, order a fillet. In some better restaurants the waiter will fillet the fish for you at the table.

Prawns

If your prawn arrives intact, begin by the removing head and tail; do this by giving each end a sharp tug. Peel off the shell, starting from the underside where the legs meet the body. If your prawn is uncooperative, discreetly bend it against its natural curve to loosen the shell.

Finally, remove the black thread from along the back before devouring the flesh. To eat a prawn served headless but with its tail attached, use the latter as a handle and discard after eating the flesh. Dip your fingers into a fingerbowls one hand at a time, rub gently to remove any stickiness and then dry them on your napkin.

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