Clams are a wonderful, tasty food that is relatively easy to prepare. Read my tips for How to Cook Clams.
There is nothing like a bunch of steamed clams to liven up a meal, whether it is an outdoor barbecue or dining inside. So what is the best way to prepare clams for cooking?
How to Cook Clams
First and foremost, it’s important to understand that clams live on the sandy ocean bottom, and in order to get the nutrients to live, clams ingest an awful lot of sand!
Getting rid of that sand and dirt is rather easy, as long as you know how to do it. The first fact to consider is to buy clams that smell fresh; in other words, they should smell as fresh like the ocean.
If there is a musty or funky smell to them, don’t buy them! Any “off” smell means that they’ve been sitting in the store too long, and you can run the risk of getting sick eating old shellfish.
Assuming you have a fresh batch of clams from the store, the next step is the preparation for cooking. The best way to get rid of the dirt and sand the clams have ingested is to soak them in saltwater with cornmeal.
What happens is that the clams ingest the cornmeal and excrete the sand. This process can take a few hours, but it really makes for a tasty clam dish, as nobody enjoys eating sand!
There are many ways to eat clams, but we’ll focus on steamed clams here. Once the clams have been soaked in the saltwater, they are ready for the pot. Depending upon how many clams you’ve purchased, get the right sized pot for the cooking process.
Bring the water in the pot up to a full boil. It’s not necessary to add salt, as there is plenty of salt within the clams already.
Place all of the clams into the boiling water, with the lid on. The boiling process should take at least ten or fifteen minutes to be completed. After that period of time, all of the clams should be open.
In other words, their shells should open a quarter or halfway, and if they aren’t, throw those clams away! You can get very sick from eating tainted clams! Seafood poisoning is no joke.
Most steamed clam dishes are served with lemon and butter. Once the clams are cooled down, just separate the shells, grab them by the neck, and remove the clear membrane.
Dip them in butter with a bit of lemon if you wish and enjoy!
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