Choosing and Cooking Clams

There is nothing better than than sitting down to a fresh bucket of steamed clams with drawn butter!  For people who like shellfish, steamed clams rate right at the top of the list right next to a Maine lobster.  What are some of the important clues to buying fresh shellfish, specifically clams?

Probably one of the most important factors when determining if clams are worth purchasing is the smell.  They should have a nice, fresh odor of the sea, and not a “dead” look about them.  It’s very important to choose wisely with any shellfish because one can get very sick if eating any “off” mollusk.  So after the smell test, go ahead and make your purchase and bring them home for preparation.

How to prepare clams?  Clams ingest a lot of sand, and to get rid of the pesky pebbles put some corn meal in the pot with the clams with water.  The clams should be still living, and they will eat the corn meal and excrete the sand.  This works great and it never fails as no one likes to munch down on sand!  You can leave them in the fridge overnight, or at least for a few hours in cool conditions.  Then the rinsing should begin.

Notice all the sand that has been excreted that should be at the bottom of the container.  In another pot, the one to boil the clams in, you can have just plain water, or add a bit of spice if you wish.  The important thing is that the clams are ready for cooking and they are nice and clean.

If boiling is the preferred method for your palette, you will notice the clams begin to open up.  It’s very, very important that any clam you eat must be opened.  If you notice clams that have not opened their shells, that’s a warning that the clam is not fit to eat as it’s probably been dead for a long time and the odds are it will make you sick!  So just throw it out, it’s not worth risking sickness if you eat it.

Shellfish and lobsters used to be considered peasant food a long time ago. Boy have times changed!  Recently, the price has come down due to a good shellfish and lobster season, so enjoy the bounty of the sea!

Reference:
1. Choosing And Using Shellfish – Allrecipes Dish
2. How to Pick Clams at the Market – Bon Appétit