Icelanders are slowly getting better at using and enjoying shellfish. “Að lepja dauðann úr skel” (e. to slurp death from a shell) is an old Icelandic saying which is sure to get weirder as time goes on and will eventually not be understood anymore.
Despite generous shores, Icelanders do not seem to have eaten much shellfish in the past, as it was mostly gathered as fish bait. Now, mussels are successfully farmed in pure ocean water, making it available all year round. Mussels, ocean quahogs and scallops are all ingredients fit for a feast. In the past, they were boiled or deep-fried in grease, sometimes even pickled and dipped in fish liver oil.
A fun thing to do in the summer is to join your friends and gather mussels for a feast. The bright summer nights provide the ideal setting. Sometimes the catch is even cooked right on the beach. The mussel broth is heavenly and it is good to have a big basket of bread at hand, for dipping in the broth. One can also go on a boat trip and indulge in scallops and sea urchin roe pulled directly from the bottom of the sea.
The Icelandic langoustine (lobster) is a delicatessen enjoyed for festive occasions. The closeness to the main langoustine grounds has earned Höfn í Hornafirði in East Iceland the nickname: The Langoustine Capital of Iceland. However catching langoustine is not limited to the east part of Iceland.