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Shelling Out Information About Steamed Clams

Shelling Out Information About Steamed Clams

Oct 1st 2018

Shelling Out Information About Steamed ClamsFor people who did not grow up in coastal areas, properly preparing clams can be intimidating. It shouldn't be, though. Clams are an easy and delicious dish to prepare at home for your family or for guests. One of the best (and most delicious) ways to prepare clams is to steam them. Steaming clams is a classic preparation, especially when accompanied by a delicious broth. Steaming clams allows the juices to be contained in the pot, thus adding to the overall flavor or the broth, which can be enhanced with aromatics and white wine.

When purchasing clams at the supermarket (or clam-digging yourself), be sure to make all of the shells are closed. Open shells are a sign that the clam is no longer alive and, if consumed, can make you and your guests sick. Also, check to make sure the clams have a fresh ocean smell. Most types of seafood have a very distinctive "off" odor alerting you that it is no longer good.

Once you get your clams home, remove them from any type of plastic packaging. Some types of plastic can actually suffocate your clams. For the freshest tasting dish possible, it is a best practice to purchase clams on the day you plan to use them. While storing clams in the refrigerator, do not place them in a bowl of water or on ice; instead, place them in an empty bowl and cover the bowl with a damp towel. Set the bowl in the fridge until you are ready to cook.

About two hours before you start cooking, you need to clean your clams. First, take a clean kitchen scrub brush and scrub the shells of the clams to eliminate anything gritty, such as sand or organic matter. Afterward, let them sit in a bowl of cold, salted water for a half an hour to an hour. Remove from the water and pat dry with a kitchen towel. Do another inspection looking at the shells and taking a sniff. If any of the clams are open, gently tap the shell, it should close immediately. If not, toss it in the waste bin. Now your clams are ready to be steamed! Follow the recipe below for a classic preparation.


  • 2 lbs. of cleaned clams
  • Butter
  • A decent dry white wine
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2- 3 Cloves of garlic finely minced
  • 1 Small shallot finely sliced
  • 1 handful of parsley chopped
  • Wedged lemon for serving

Melt butter in sauté pan. When the butter is melted, add the garlic and shallots. Cook until fragrant, being careful not to burn. Add the wine and increase the heat until a steady simmer develops, then add the water and the clams. Cover the pot and cook for approximately 10 minutes or until the clams open. Remove and discard any clams that do not open. Place clams in a large shallow bowl. Add a touch of salt and pepper; pour the broth over the clams. Sprinkle the parsley over the clams. Serve with lemon wedges and crusty bread for dipping.