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Where can I find steamers?

SarahKC Aug 26, 2009 03:44 PM

It's summer. I miss eating steamers -- you know, those large clams you get in shacks in New England. All I can find here are small clams. Any counsel?

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  1. wolfe RE: SarahKC Aug 26, 2009 04:04 PM

    Ranch 99 usually has 2 sizes in the tanks, the smaller manila and the larger little neck. You get to pick your own so you can get the largest, although this article claims bigger clams are not necessarily better clams.

    6 Replies
    1. re: wolfe
      SarahKC RE: wolfe Aug 26, 2009 04:26 PM

      Kmanlove has come up with the name I want -- quahog clams. So I fear that manila and littlenecks won't do. Manila's too small to pull them out and dip them in melted butter like I want to and littlenecks, I believe, are hard-shelled.

      Thanks, as always wolfe, for your input. I did not articulate myself well at the initial post.

      1. re: SarahKC
        chefj RE: SarahKC Aug 26, 2009 05:20 PM

        Quahogs are not the same as "Steamers". In New England Steamers are Mya arenaria or soft shell clam, while Quahogs are Mercenaria mercenaria the hard shell. All the little neck, top neck etc. are just size differences. As to where to get them I do not know. I know that they are from the Atlantic, but I also know that they have been considered an invasive species here in the west. May be that means that they are harvesting them here too.
        You can buy them mail order from many places on the east coast.

        1. re: chefj
          Kmanlove RE: chefj Aug 26, 2009 05:39 PM

          Thanks for correcting me chefj! You are right--we want those soft shell clams. Wikipedia says they are invading beaches in the Pacific--but is anyone harvesting them? Might have to go mail order.

          1. re: Kmanlove
            chefj RE: Kmanlove Aug 26, 2009 05:51 PM

            Somebody should be. It would help slow the invasion(-;

            1. re: chefj
              SarahKC RE: chefj Aug 26, 2009 06:35 PM

              And how often are there tasty ways to do something good for the environment? Plus, the shipping costs on mail-order are huge.

              1. re: SarahKC
                chefj RE: SarahKC Aug 26, 2009 06:44 PM

                You know, I have never paid that much attention to what Ranch 99 carries but they may carry have them. It is worth a try.

    2. o
      OldTimer RE: SarahKC Aug 26, 2009 06:57 PM

      You may have problems defining "steamer clams". If what you are taking about is the soft-shelled clam with a tiny neck that you peel before eating, they are hard to find in Calif. Most restaurants that serve steamed clams usually use manilas or mahogany clams.

      1. Windy RE: SarahKC Aug 26, 2009 07:13 PM

        Woodhouse Fish has steamed littleneck clams on the menu, which are what I grew up on out in Captree. I haven't tried them there myself, but their fish is always fresh and simple.

        1. m
          minkus RE: SarahKC Aug 27, 2009 02:35 AM

          If you want a quantity try Allseas Wholesale at Jerrold and Bayshore-- Their market list includes: "Manila, Top Neck, Cape Cod, Little Neck, Pasta, Cockles..." Or ask your local fish market to order them for you from this or another supplier.

          4 Replies
          1. re: minkus
            jimtak RE: minkus Aug 27, 2009 04:00 PM

            Like looking for a real lobster roll, soft shell steamers are a down east nosh.
            And, while it might be interesting to try to dig them up where they are invading, your best bet is to order them from the on-line stores. They usually arrive fresh and alive, and when steamed on a bed of seaweed, oh so good.

            1. re: jimtak
              SarahKC RE: jimtak Aug 28, 2009 11:20 AM

              Hi Jimtak, do you have an online purveyor you like?

              1. re: SarahKC
                jimtak RE: SarahKC Aug 28, 2009 04:05 PM

                I have received good service from:


                1. re: jimtak
                  SarahKC RE: jimtak Aug 28, 2009 04:49 PM

                  It does test my foodie credentials -- $17 for clams; $30 for shipping. There should be an east coast-west coast food courier service. So I can identify a friend who is coming to San Francisco and wouldn't mind stopping by the market on his way...

          2. Robert Lauriston RE: SarahKC Aug 28, 2009 09:14 AM

            Try the places that specialize in East Coast seafood:

            Old Port Lobster Shack
            851 Veterans Blvd, Redwood City, CA 94063

            Woodhouse Fish Company
            2073 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94114

            Nettie's Crab Shack
            2032 Union Street, San Francisco, CA 94123

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