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Jun 9, 2008 06:30 AM

Looking for some help, softshell Clams

I'm in Wilmington but looking to find a place close by (within 2 hours) where I can get some softshell Clams, we don't have them anyplace around here.

Any info on places is appreciated.

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  1. As I told flowergirl above, the only place I found on the web that had them (fried with bellies) was Mr. Shrimp in Belmar, NJ. I’ve never been there so I can’t vouch for their quality. I’d also call first before going to make sure they had them on hand.

    If you go there or find them someplace else, please post your findings.

    1. All of Wegman's grocery stores in VA have ME soft shell's. I steam my own. They have a store in Cherry Hill NJ. Fried whole bellies, head to CT/RI shoreline. A long 2 hours away. I travel from VA to Atlantic City quite often and would be interested in knowing where I could stop for a few of these great summer delicacies.

      1. I would consider myself pretty knowledgeable about food but have never heard of soft shell clams. I imagine I am missing something good as I love Soft shell Crabs.

        11 Replies
          1. re: Rocket88

            I just read that the Legal Seafood in King of Prussia carries them..I would never have tried there but do plan a trip soon.

          2. re: angelo04

            I am referring to the Ipswich clam I believe, here in DE we get LittleNecks and Cherry Stones but when I'm in Maine I get their 'steamers' I have heard them referred to as soft shell clams but not sure why as the shells are not very soft. Between LittleNecks and the Ipswich I think the Ispwich are much sweeter.

            1. re: kmcdonne

              Ipswich clam = Soft shell clam

              1. re: MGZ

                From the sounds of it, Soft Shell Clam, I thought it was entirely edible like the soft shell crab. In my old school Italian circles these are referred to as Steamers and a more not so PC term, piss clams. No matter what you call them they are great. I am in Central NJ and got them at Wegmans many times.

            2. re: angelo04

              I too had to look this up (after I wrote half a post on where to buy softshell crabs and then realized that the OP was talking about something else!) The local term is steamers, at least for those of us who grew up in NJ. I'm kind of surprised that they are hard to find. I had an idea in my head that Hatfield's (on 202, just over the PA line) would surely carry them.

              1. re: travelmad478

                Are you sure they’re soft shell or Ipswich clams? They’re the ones with the soft appendage that protrudes from the side and has a black skin on it that you peel off to eat after they’re steamed. Whenever I see steamers on the menu in NJ they’re usually hard shell clams, i.e., quahogs, cherrystones, etc., the kind you eat raw on the half shell or make clams casino with. Unfortunately, they’re usually rubbery unless they’re steamed just enough to make them open.

                1. re: TomDel

                  Growing up in NJ, what I knew as steamers were the clams you're talking about--the ones with a "foot" coming out, from which you'd peel off the black "stocking", then hold onto while you were dipping the clam in broth and melted butter. That's my definition of a steamer. As I understand it, that is an Ipswich, or a soft shell (or so says Google).

                    1. re: travelmad478

                      Finally someone gets this right. Steamers are a soft shell clam, which is different specie than the hard shells. (Soft shells don't grow into hard shells.. unlike the crab) . A great feast in New England is bushels of these steamed and served with butter and broth. However, the shell is really brittle, so I imagine they don't ship well. I live in Connecticut and there is a huge difference in the soft shell I get inland compared to that on the shore.. and 100 miles sway in Maine, the difference is even greater. These need to be fresh to be at their best.

                      1. re: jimn01

                        You betcha! It truly amazes me what a generation can do. I grew up in Jersey and we used to dig soft shell clams all the time. We called them "pissers" due to the stream of salt water that would come shooting out of their hole. The Inlet Cafe, in Atlantic Highlands, used to have all the steamers you could eat for $6.95 in 1986. I ordered steamed clams there last summer and got rubbery quohogs! The Hoboken Clam Broth House used to be a regular destination to eat big pots of steamers at the bar (shells were thrown on the floor) and drink beer. I dig soft shell clams here in Maine and even will take a break and eat a few raw. What I miss from NJ are soft shell crabs; but got to eat them during 2 visits this summer. Luckily, mom lives near Morgan Fishery. They even have Maine steamers. A great little treasure on Rt. 35.
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