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went clam digging....

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and i want to make good claand i want to make really good clam chowand i want to make a really good clam chowder.. i have about 50 clams and want to know what to do.. do i still need to get clam juice or can i get clam juice from my clams.. i'm sure it's different process of cookimg w/ fresh clams so need your help! thanks... also, if you have any other recipes that you can recommend using clams..greatly appreciated! thanks!

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  1. When we dig clams we do an indoor clam bake.

    Layer clams on bottom of steamer. Add 3-4 lbs of chicken pieces, 3 stalks of celery (hacked into large pieces), 3 onions (quartered), 1/2 pound hot sausage. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Top with 5-6 medium red potatoes. Bring water in bottom of steamer to a boil, turn down to simmer and steam for 45-50 minutes. When potatoes on top are finished, the rest of the clam bake will be done. All the juice from everything will drip down and make wonderful homemade clam broth.

    I'm not sure if you can do this without a clam bake pot, but I'm sure there is a way.

    It's the only thing I know to do with clams! And I wouldn't have it any other way.

    4 Replies
    1. re: QueenB

      Wouldn't the clams be incredibly tough after steaming for 45-50 minutes?? Or are they like squid and octopus and must be cooked very quickly or for a very long time to be tender?

      1. re: prunefeet

        We've never had an issue with tough clams. I'm not sure if the amount of stuff in the pot keeps the heat dispersed better or what.
        45-50 minutes is a guesstimate. It may be done in less time. I think it depends on how much extras you put in the pot. All I know is when the potatoes are done, so is everything else. And I've never had a tough clam out of the bake.

          1. re: prunefeet

            Pretty much a decadent feast. Especially when you dip everything into a combination of melted butter and clam juice.

    2. If i may ask where did you get the clams? I just moved back to L.I. and am near the Ocean and Bay Thanks

      2 Replies
      1. re: scunge

        Where on LI do you live? There's a lot of Ocean and a lot of Bay. If you are anywhere near Lindenhurst, there is a restaurant and Fish Market called Southside Fish and Clam. I think their prices are fair and the fish is fresh. If you are near Commack, on Commack road almost at Jericho Tpk is another restaurant and Fishmarket called Catfish Annie's.

        1. re: scunge

          Sorry for my erroneous response about where to buy the clams. I reread your post and realize that you want actually go clam digging. For that, I have no advice but be cautious. LI clamming is not what it used to be and there are pollution issues and many restricted areas.

        2. My tried and true clam chowder method...

          Scrub clams thoroughly. In the bottom of a steamer pot, saute a chopped onion and/or a leek and a little garlic in butter; add a few pinches of salt. When onions are translucent, deglaze the pan with a few turns of white wine. Cook until nearly evaporated; add water to an inch or so deep in the pan and bring to a boil.

          Place clams in steamer portion of rack and steam with the lid closed until clams are open, 5-7 minutes (or more, depending on number of clams). Discard any that don't open. Remove clams and extract them from their shells, reserving any loose liquid.

          You now have a fine clam chowder base in your steamer pot from the clam juice released during steaming. From here, there's a million ways to go. Here's the way I usually proceed:

          Now, add chopped veggies to your taste. I like carrots, potatoes, celery, corn, and mushrooms. Add water to cover veggies, and simmer til just tender.

          Finally, add cream or half-and-half or milk to desired consistency; add clams, whole or chopped; and adjust seasonings. I add a good bit of pepper and a dash of cayenne. You could add some parsley here, and possibly a few chunks of cold butter for a creamier chowder.

          Good luck!

          2 Replies
          1. re: ennyl

            Sounds like a good easy recipe ennyl. Will have to try.

            1. re: laylag

              one more thing...for a smoky effect, you can saute a little bacon instead of butter in the beginning, removing the crispy bacon and reserving as a topping for the finished soup, and using the drippings for sauteing the onions.

          2. A lot depends on the type of clam...big difference between a little cockle (or Manila) and geoduck. For clam broth, you might want to check out Smart & Final for a jar of clam base. I'm too old to clam and use canned clams. If you are new to cooking fresh clams, watch out for "mudders"...those full of mud, Can mess up your chowda.