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Need help with baked clams

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I'm making baked clams to bring to a friends house on Christmas. My problem is this, I can't schuck them myself (have tried again and again and have failed miserably)so I usually have my fishmonger schuck them and then I make and eat them that same day. I can get my schucked clams on xmas eve and I'm not sure if they will stay fresh in the refrig overnite. Or should I make them on xmas eve and just reheat them on Christmas. Thanks for your help.

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  1. Much as I've tried, I can't shuck them either. I ususally stick them on the plate in the microwave and zap them for a few seconds, just until they open enough to be able to get a knife in there. This doesn't cook them; I've done this when I wanted them raw and they've been fine. Even better that you'll be cooking them. I think it would be much better if you could possibly avoid opening them the day before. Although, having said that, it's certainly not unusual to see already shucked clams in plastic containers sitting on ice at the fishmonger and I'm sure they're not replenishing the supply every day.

    2 Replies
    1. re: JoanN

      oh dear, please don't use a knife to shuck clams or oysters!
      invest in a good shucker and and make sure your hands are protected with a towel when you shuck. once you get the hang of it, you'll be in shellfish heaven!

      But I DO "zap" some of the ones that are a bit more stubborn and it's works really well.

      How are you baking your clams? I can't see why you couldn't reheat them the next day.

      1. re: hotsauce28

        I'm not using one of my good kitchen knives. Sorry, and embarrassed, to have implied that. I use a very heavy, very blunt stainless steel knife I happen to have. I don't open enough clams or oysters to invest in a one-use implement--and I guess that's exactly why I've never learned to do it properly. I may have to reconsider that.

    2. The answer to your problem really is in your recipe. If you are chopping your clams, you can have your fish monger do it the day before and quality will not suffer terribly. If your intention is to have them as whole clams, with a topping applied and finished in the oven.....consider gently steaming the clams in a shallow covered fry pan with a minimal amount of water, low heat and when the clam shell opens slightly, you should be able to open them easily and finish your recipe.

      2 Replies
      1. re: fourunder

        Slightly steaming them seems like a great idea fourunder, thanks. It solves both the opening problem and keeping them fresh. I don't like to mince them but serve them whole covered with a delicious garlicky breadcrumb mixture and sometimes top them with a piece of bacon. I really like the freshness of how they taste if you only bake them once. Reheating tends to make the clams chewy.

        1. re: berna

          Berna,

          Here's a tip for you if you plan on making them ahead and storing for a couple of hours before actually serving the dish.

          When you remove the clams from the gentle steam, carefully pour any juices into a separate bowl and reserve should you need clam juice for your recipe. Then give the clam a quick shock in cold water to stop the cooking process and they will not get too tough for eating later.

          Good luck.

      2. Well, my question is how will you be "baking" the clams? Baked stuffed? If that, buy the clams already shucked. MInce them at home, add your seasonings, fill the shells. You can bake them ready to eat before you transport them and reheat once you get to your destination..... but my best advise is to put them in the oven when you arrive at the party. Bring minced parsley in a baggie to garnish. And lemon wedges.