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What's a girl to do with a mess o' clams?

VJA Mar 30, 2009 01:05 PM

I just got back from the farmers market where my fish guy tossed a pound of baby clams in with my order as a gift. This is totally cool, except I have not a clue what to do with them.

I don't know how to clean them, prep them, cook them, shell them -- nothing. I grew up in Indiana, and if you've ever heard of Hoosier clams, you know they don't come from the sea.

Help! I would love to make something edible. He says they won't open up for at least three days (I don't even know what that means), so I'm planning to use them tomorrow.

Your genius ideas (and snarky comments) welcome.

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  1. j
    jaykayen RE: VJA Mar 30, 2009 01:48 PM

    Open up=dead.

    Before using, soak in cold water for 10 minutes so they spit up sand.

    Easy is to steam 'em with butter and some diced onion or fennel, and wine or white vermouth, any herbs you got on hand like thyme, then give it a squeeze of lemon. Toss with pasta or serve with bread.

    1 Reply
    1. re: jaykayen
      MrsCris RE: jaykayen Mar 30, 2009 02:07 PM

      And adding to jaykyen's good advice: steam them just until they open - this doesn't take long. I also toss in some fresh diced tomato and a small shot of cream.

    2. p
      PAO RE: VJA Mar 30, 2009 02:19 PM

      Steaming clams is REALLY easy. Steaming only takes a few minutes. Bring whatever liquid you're using (you don't need much) to a boil first, then throw them in and put on the lid. Check every minute or so to see if they have opened. Once most are open, they're done. Don't overcook or they get tough. Use them today if you can. Aging is not a virtue in seafood. If they're really fresh,tomorrow should be OK.

      1 Reply
      1. re: PAO
        alwayscooking RE: PAO Mar 30, 2009 02:46 PM

        Remember to scrub the unopened shells with a clean scrubbie prior to soaking.

        Then add garlic crushed garlic cloves, a cut-up tomato, diced onion, carrots, celery (or whatever veg is in the refrigerator), thyme (or other herbs) to a small amount of water (and white wine if on hand). Bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer for a bit, and place clams in. Check often and when they are open, they're ready (if they don't, they're dead). Serve the clams and broth with a squirt of lemon and crusty bread to soak up the juice.

        I'm sure that they will much different than Hoosier clams.

      2. k
        kasiav RE: VJA Mar 30, 2009 02:47 PM

        How about vongole? Very simple pasta recipe with lots of garlic and clams - mop up the juice with a hunk of crusty carlic bread. Here's a pretty simple one from tyler florence:


        1. Sam Fujisaka RE: VJA Mar 30, 2009 02:57 PM

          The advice above is all good; although to me just some white wine is all that is needed.

          Your post is hilarious, well written. And no ... what are Hoosier clams?

          2 Replies
          1. re: Sam Fujisaka
            VJA RE: Sam Fujisaka Mar 30, 2009 05:12 PM

            AKA Rocky Mountain Oysters AKA lamb fries. When they come from a six-point buck in the great state of Indiana, they are known as Hoosier clams -- and thankfully, I've never tried them. I think it's a rite of passage for boys. Or just hazing.

            1. re: VJA
              Sam Fujisaka RE: VJA Mar 30, 2009 05:51 PM

              Thank goodness. I was afraid it was the Indiana bearded clam!

          2. chef chicklet RE: VJA Mar 30, 2009 03:32 PM

            You lucky girl!

            Buy some french bread, get out some butter 1/2 lb of butter, 1/2 cup of parsley, 5 cloves of minced fresh garlic,! tsp of thyme, 2 cups of white wine, 6 scallions, and 1 cup clam bottle juice, kosher salt and fresh cracked white or black pepper and d 1 T red pepper flakes. I'd make sure that the clams were scrubbed extra clean, drop them in a large pot and add the rest of the ingredients. Let them simmer about 20 mins,and then have a wonderful clams boredelaise dinner, or appetizer, because 1lb of clams would be an appetizer for me. They are, SO GOOD!!!

            1. f
              FriedClamFanatic RE: VJA Mar 30, 2009 03:50 PM

              And after you steam them.....those that don't open......pitch them!

              1. v
                VJA RE: VJA Apr 1, 2009 04:34 PM

                Thanks for all the GREAT advice. Made them last night. Soaked and scrubbed them, sauteed some garlic and shallots in butter, then added clams and a can of coconut milk. When all the clams had opened, strained off the liquid, shelled the clams, sweat some green onions in a few strips of bacon, added a cup of the liquid back in with some flour and simmered until it reduced. Added clams and some heavy cream until it got thick and served the whole thing as gravy over crusty bread. Now I think I might have to start buying clams. Damn, that must have been his plan all along.

                1. f
                  FriedClamFanatic RE: VJA Apr 1, 2009 05:20 PM

                  Whoa momma.......that must have been good

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