piss clams. . .?
I'm new to Boston and a friend of the family told me not to miss the "piss clams" here. Huh? What are piss clams? I've asked and enough people have looked at me funny for me to guess that they must have another name, perhaps one that isn't quite as embarassing to say aloud in a restaurant.
Any ideas and, if so, reccomendations?
My Dad always called them that...But if you want to order them in a restaurant- they're called steamers. They should serve them to you with a cup of broth and a cup of butter. You need to remove the membrane from the siphon (the part that 'pisses') - then using the siphon as a handle, dip the clam in broth to rinse any potential sand/mud - then dip in butter and place in mouth. Loads of restaurants in NE sell them. I believe it's also that type of clam that they use to make the whole belly fried clams. I don't think they are as good as the hard shell cherrystones people eat as steamed clams in the mid-atlantic, but they're still pretty good.
They're usually a clam shack - casual seafood place that serves them. But the Halfway Cafe in Watertown and some other towns(Dedham?) sells a decent pile of steamers for not too much money... Or most fish markets will carry them as well. Pretty basic just to steam your own. Just remember to save the broth for dipping!
Don't worry about it. The only way you are ever going to see, or understand what is meant by the term "piss Clams" is to go clam digging. As you dig the live clams out of the mud and pick them up to put in your container, you will learn all you ever wanted to know about clams "pissing". Just make sure that you are not staring at the business end (what people call strips) of the clam, or you will also be wearing the experience. It is all totally harmless, indeed many youthful new diggers, have great fun pointing them at their friends or others standing nearby.
The clam is simply releasing the salt water which is stored in it's system. But the muscle it uses to do this can be surprisingly strong.