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Canned mussels/clams/oysters

Has anyone had any success with canned mussels/clams or other seafood in a dish? I'm thinking of making a white pasta sauce with clams, but everyone says it's a bad idea. What about pizza? I know the canned stuff is always never that great, but I does anyone have a recipe to make them taste good or at least mask the tinny flavor?

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  1. I know people that are addicted to them but the smell and texture of canned oysters is just disgusting to me. One whiff and you'll easily decide if they're for you or not.

    1. I've used canned clams regularly for both chowder and clam sauce, and had no problems at all when I use the better brands. The cheap ones tend to be smaller, tougher pieces, and usually overcooked.

      I have used canned oysters in a pinch for oyster stuffing, and it was OK. I would never use them for stew or for scalloped oysters. And while we're on the subject, let me say I'll never use those huge Willapoint shucked oysters in either dish again, either. Tough muscle, nasty flabby flesh, overbearing flavor.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Will Owen

        I think the small canned oysters make a quite decent Hangtown fry. I agree with Mr. Owen about the jumbo oysters (out here on the Left Coast they're Pacific or Japanese oysters), I am repelled by the flavor and mushy texture.

      2. I enjoy smoked oysters on Saltines but I wouldn't cook with them because they have a very strong taste.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Scagnetti

          My friend would serve smoked oysters, sliced onions on a Ritz cracker back in high school. Never knew anyone else that ate it like that besides her. It's munchable. Definately not for cooking though.

          1. re: rumgum

            My grandfather, who had a tractor dealership in a little farm town, use to come home for a midafternoon break, get a beer, some crackers, and a can of smoked oyster, and consume all that while he read the paper. One day when I was visiting - I was about nine at the time - I asked him what he was eating, and then if I could try one. He said, "Well, it's an acquired taste, but sure, have one." Well, I acquired the taste immediately, to both his pride and his dismay...because he had been the only one in the family who could stand those things, and now, fair-minded gent that he was, he felt duty-bound to share them with me. I did only get maybe three or four...

        2. I've used canned clams in a white sauce for pasta before and never had an issue with "tinny" flavor.

          I don't know what brand they are, but I always had success with the canned clams with the yellow label. I'll try to figure out the brand.

          1 Reply
          1. re: QueenB

            Bumblebee has a bright yellow label. We used some whole clams in a sauce for pasta last week and it tasted fine.

          2. Hey, thanks all!

            I ended up getting a Starkist packet of whole clams. They were great and tasted really fresh. Slightly fishy, but better than anything from a can.