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Mar 30, 2009 01:05 PM

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

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. 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

      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. 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

        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. 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. 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

            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

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

          2. 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!!!