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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.

            1. Mmm. Sardines in olive oil mushed into cooked rice with a fork with a little soy sauce. Wonderful midnight snack.

              Another great canned seafood product is fried dace with black bean sauce, which I've only seen in Asian markets. Also good over rice.

              1 Reply
              1. re: F Schubert

                I second the sardine dish except it's also great with lemon juice squeezed over all.

              2. Clearwater (Nova Scotia) has a fine red tipped canned clam meat, 'Arctic Surf', which is great for chowder or pasta. It is subtle, not as good for Manhattan as New England. Just follow the chowder recipe on the back of the label. These cans are hard to find but worth searching.

                1. jarred clams are very good, more expensive, because they contain only the meaty bits (i can't handle whole clams at all...)....Here in the maritimes i've seen them in the seafood sections with the solomon gundy, smoked salmon etc etc.....I can't remember the brand, but to me they taste and look a little like slices of cooked scallop...

                  as for the cheap-o cans, i made this once for a summer bbq, and it was pretty good:


                  2 Replies
                  1. re: im_nomad

                    I bought Doxsee chopped clams at BJ's,$5.49 for 51 oz. can.Great for white clam sauce or chowder.

                    1. re: bobfxd

                      I purchased Snow's/Doxsee chopped clams from BJ's Club in a 51 oz net weight can ($6.39) and, surprisingly, when drained there is only 17 oz of clams (34 oz liquid) in the can. I called the company (Bumble Bee in San Diego) to complain and they say this is normal. I think it is unfair that they do not mention the drained weight as from what I understand, the net weight is supposed to be the drained weight. The trick they seem to use is to list the first ingredient as "Clams and Clam Juice", thereby hiding the ratios of what is truly in the can. The bottom line is that I make red clam sauce which requires very little juice so 32 oz of juice goes down the drain. Can anyone clear up why there is 70% juice in a can of chopped clams? It isn't that way with the smaller 6.5 oz size so why is it so with the larger sized cans?

                  2. My mom used to make this for dinner some nights:

                    can of smoked oysters drained of oil, frozen peas, a blob of oyster sauce and chili flakes heated through on the stove and served with hot fluffy rice.

                    It's good and I still make it sometimes.

                    1. Spaghetti con Vongoli ed Ostriche

                      2 garlic cloves
                      3 T olive oil
                      1/4 tsp crush red pepper flakes
                      1 T minced fresh parsley
                      1 7 1/2 oz can minced clams
                      1 ll oz can minced oysters
                      1 pound spaghetti

                      Saute garlic in oil until brown. Discard garlic, and stir in red pepper,
                      parsley and the clams with their juice. Simmer uncovered for 5 minutes,
                      stirring often. Add the oysters with a 1/3 of their juice. Simmer for 5
                      minutes. Cook spaghetti al dente, drain, and place in a large bowl. Pour the
                      claim/oyster sauce over pasta, toss immediately. Serves 4 to 6.

                      Fabulous! canned and all!

                      1. There is a great Vietnamese dish of Baby clams (spicy) with rice crackers. It is very delicious and great with beer on a hot day.

                        400 g baby clams (16 oz) frozen or canned, drained
                        100 g Vietnamese mint (rau ram) chopped
                        2 yellow onion 200g, sliced lengthwise
                        2 tbsp spring onion (white part only)/garlic/lemongrass minced
                        1/2 tsp pepper
                        1/2 tsp chili powder
                        1 tbsp Fish sauce
                        Crushed peanuts, fried shallot
                        2-3 pcs sesame rice crackers or prawn crackers
                        1 tbsp vegetable oil

                        Here's a vid on how to make: