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What could be easier to make and more delicious than steamed clams with butter? I can't think of anything else!
Steamed Clams - How To Steam Clams:
Spanish Paella Dinner
Yields: 2 servings
Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 10 min
3 to 4 pounds live small hard-shelled clams (also called cherrystone, littlenecks (in the New England states)
and steamer clams (in the Pacific Northwest). If the shells of
the live clams are open, tap on shell. If it does not close, throw away the clam.*, lightly chopped
3 tablespoons butter
1 small white
onion, coarsely chopped
6 parsley stems
1 bottle dry white
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Melted unsalted butter**
Thick slices of
* There are generally 12 to 15 clams per pound. Serve approximately 1 to 2 pounds of steamer clams per person.
**The use of unsalted butter is imperative for this recipe, otherwise your clams will be too salty!
FDAs recommendations are to soak steamer clams for several hours in seawater (or 1/3 cup coarse kosher salt and 1 gallon water) to which
you have added 1 cup cornmeal. Use kosher or sea salt as the iodine in regular salt will kill the clams before they hit the boiling water.
One hour before serving, scrub clamswith vegetable brush in cold water; rinse with water until free of sand
(adding a little coarse salt to the water will help to remove the sand from the clams).
In a steamer pot or a large kettle, melt butter; sauté onion and garlic until soft. Add white wine and pepper flakes and bring to a slow boil.
Add clams and cover pot with a tight-fitting lid and steam over low heat just until clams open, about 5 to 10 minutes.
Do not over cook, as clams will become tough and rubbery (discard any clams that do not open).
Use tongs or a slotted spoon to transfer the clams to large individual soup bowls with individual cups of melted butter.
Pour broth through a cheesecloth-lined strainer to remove any sand. The broth can either be used as a dunking liquid for the French bread or placed in mugs to drink.
Eat and enjoy!
Yields: 2 servings.
Comments from readers:
Cooking America” refers to hard shell clams as steamer clams. Here in
new England, steamer clams are of the soft shell variety. Hard shell
clams are little necks, cherrystones or quahogs ???? Generally
speaking hard shell clams are not recommended for steaming. Regards
Howard Soule (5/16/07)
I have to agree with Howard. I have been living in New England all my life and
everyone here calls the clams you have pictured as cherrystone or littlenecks and not steamer clams. The clams you have on the picture
are not soft shell, they are very hard. The term little neck comes from the fact that like on the picture the neck is not sticking out of the
clam. I tried the recipe on what we here in New England call steamers and the type not pictured on the web site. It was absolutely wonderful.
- Lori (7/03/07)
Feedback from Linda: In the Pacific Northwest, small hard shell clams are called steamers or steamer clams.
I used your recipe for steamed clams today and I have to admit, it was the BEST clams I have ever ate. I am an avid seafood fanatic, and your
recipe was better than any restaurant I have ever had clams at. THANK
YOU! - Rick San Diego (11/18/07)