Steamed Hard Shell Clams
One of the simplest of life's greatest pleasures.
- Lots of clams... Size doesn't matter. The fresher the better.
- Beer, ale stout or wine.
- Heavy cream, half & half or sour cream.
- Extra virgin olive oil.
- Chopped red onion.
- Chopped scallion.
- Chopped chives.
- Chopped or sliced garden tomatoes.
- Lightly steamed fresh corn cur off the cob with the juice from the corn.
- Chopped or sliced wild mushrooms or even truffles or a drop or two of truffle oil.
- Fresh garlic lightly browned in a mixture of olive oil and butter.
- Chopped fresh herbs: thyme, oregano, marjoram, basil etc.
- Chopped bacon (of course).
- Homemade croutons or oyster crackers.
1) Scrub the outside of the clam's shells with a stiff brush under running water.
( The more effort spent here the better )
2) Sort the clams into piles by sizes if you're doing multiple batches.
3) Put 2-3 cups of hot water per 10 lbs of clams into a steamer pot.
4) Add the clams, cover and turn the heat on high.
5) When the pot begins to boil over, hold the lid on and shake up and down to mix the clams.
6) Turn the heat down and return the pot to the stove.
7) Repeat the "shake" one or two more times before the clams are done.
8) Steam 10 minutes or so... To taste. Check often.
9) Remove the clams and shells to a large bowl to cool slightly.
10) Check bottom of the pot thoroughly for pilots that have ejected.
11) Strain the broth through a fine screen and set aside.
12) Shuck all of the clams into another bowl.
13) Rinse the shucked clams with hot water to remove any possible grit.
14) Divide the clams into serving bowls, top with a pat of butter, cover with hot broth and serve.
15) Add lots of fresh ground black pepper if desired.
Add a splash of beer, ale, stout or wine right before the hot broth. Add some chopped bacon, red onion, chives or all of the above.
Add chopped parsley or combination of chopped herbs to the bowl before adding the broth and try stirring in some sour cream, heavy cream or half & half to give it a richer New Englandy kind of taste.
Don't get too carried away... You just want a hint of other tastes. Don't overpower your clams. I like a little extra virgin olive oil drizzled in before adding the broth as well. Fresh tomato slices or chucks can add an interesting twist.
Feel free to experiment but don't stray too far from simple.
When I think of summer I think of clamming. The quickest and easiest way to have clams is as Roasters on the grill or steamed and served in a bowl of broth. Steaming up a batch for chowder is a good enough excuse to make a little extra to have right out of the pot. They're a little chewy and the broth is pure "clambrosia". This is one of life's simple pleasures for sure. It's an easy boat or beach meal as well... One pot and one burner or grill and you're in business.