Welcome to “Kitchen Essentials,” a new series from Chowhound where chefs and bartenders from around the country invite viewers into their kitchens and bars, unveiling the five tools (in this case, six!) that are simply essential to their work.
It should come as no surprise that clams are the star of the show at Mike Price’s restaurant, The Clam. The West Village neighborhood joint is all about showcasing the beauty of the sea, from spaghetti twirled with clams to miso-baked fluke showered with a fistful of baby bok choy. Mike has developed a space where fish and seafood is celebrated, and those who continually frequent the restaurant are delighted to order plenty of dishes where ingredients like Spanish octopus and Long Island steamers shine.
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Like anyone working with speciality products, Mike boasts a collection of tools specifically configured for handling seafood and fish. The spatulas in the kitchen are hardly ones you’d flip pancakes with. Knives are short and stout, designed with a specific purpose in mind. And you’ll find plenty of tweezers around—just not the kind used to reign in bushy eyebrows.
Chowhound spent the day with Mike, getting the ins and outs of his essential seafood tools. If you’re big on seafood boils, your collection of tools might already be stocked with some, but for die-hard fish lovers, you’ll want to upgrade your kitchen with all of Mike’s picks.
Oyster and Clam Knives
At The Clam, the kitchen goes through a ton of raw clams and oysters. To shuck it all, Mike relies on his oyster and clam knives. The clam knife boasts a wooden handle with a thin blade, to provide as much leverage as possible. His oyster knife is a little different: It has a curved blade (a New Haven-style knife) that pops open the shell and loosens the meat inside.
Oyster Shucking Knife, $37.99 on Amazon
Clam Knife, $11 on Amazon
A lot of filleting whole fish is done in the kitchen—which means Mike has to remove any bones left in the fish. Compared with most kitchen tools, tweezers are one of the rare breeds that shouldn’t be sharp. Sharp tweezers will cut the pin bones and you won’t be able to pull them out, so Mike makes sure to grind them down to a dull blade.Buy Now
“This is essential when sauteeing fish,” Mike says of the fish spatula. It’s pointed on one side and curved on the other so you can get under any fish fillet. When you remove the fish from the pan, the slots in the spatula allow the oil to retreat away Plus, it’s the right length and shape of fillets, so it can perfectly rest on the spatula without falling off.Buy Now
These picks are incredibly useful for pulling out claw and knuckle meat. One side is a two-tined fork—great for grabbing bits of meat—and the other side is a curved spatula, which can help scoop out any meat that’s stuck in the shell.Buy Now
Every kitchen Mike operates flaunts a plancha. The transportable griddle is amenable to a slew of tasks: You can toast brioche with butter, grill crab cakes, sear scallops, and finish off duck breasts.Buy Now
Header image by Chowhound.