As always, summer has sped by and for many, sadly, it’s time to store the boats away for the long winter. This is not the case for avid fishermen, be it on their boats or casting off the shoreline. And clammers are still clamming.
After some researching, I was fascinated to find that a single clam can spawn about ten million eggs in a single season – That’s a lot of kids. LOL!! However, the odds are that only a fraction of fertilized eggs will grow to market size. But that doesn’t mean that recreational clammers can’t pick up those little ones to bring home and enjoy.
Once you’ve got your clams, you need to clean them before eating. Experts recommend soaking the clams in salted water (in the refrigerator) from an hour to overnight. Simply add salt to fresh water until it tastes like seawater. When the soaking is done there will be a lot of sand at the bottom of the bucket the following morning, throw this out. Take the clams out of the bucket and check for any that might need to be discarded. If the shell is tightly closed, it is still alive. If the shell is slightly open, it should close promptly when tapped. If the shell is open and does not close when tapped, throw it out and toss out any clams that have broken shells. Once sorted, thoroughly rinse all that are kept. Now they’re ready to use in your favorite recipe.
And here are some you may not have tried.
5 Tb. of butter
1/2 cup of minced onions
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 cups of coarsely chopped clams
2 cups of diced cooked potatoes
1 Tb. each of chopped fresh parsley and chives
Tabasco to taste
1 Tb. of Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. of paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup of light cream
Lemon wedges and parsley for garnish
Heat the butter in a skillet, then sauté the onions until soft. Add the remaining ingredients except the cream and garnishes. Spread out and sauté over medium heat for about 10 minutes. Shake the pan a few times to prevent sticking. Add the cream and smooth out the mixture. Cook over low heat for about 15 minutes more until the bottom is browned. You can flip it all over if you want to brown both sides, otherwise just turn it onto a plate, garnish with lemons and parsley and serve. Serves 4.
Clam-Stuffed Baked Potatoes
4 large Idaho potatoes
1 cup of milk
1/2 cup of clam liquor (broth)
2 stalks of celery
2 slices of onion
2 Tb. of flour
2 Tb. of butter
Salt, Pepper and Paprika
36 Soft Shell clams, cleaned, shelled and minced
Bake the potatoes, cut them in half and then hollow out the centers leaving some potato in the shells. Flake the potatoes you scooped out with a fork and set aside.
Scald the milk and clam broth with the celery and onion in the top of a double boiler and cook for 15 minutes, then remove the celery and onions. Cream the butter and flour together, and then add to the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring until thickened. Mix in the minced clams and flaked potatoes, then sprinkle mixture with the paprika. Stuff the potato halves and serve hot. Serves 8.
For those of you into deep-fat frying, try this one.
40 medium-sized hard-shell clams
1 cup of cream
2 cups of cracker crumbs
1/2 cup of flour
Salt and pepper to taste
Steam open the clams and wipe thoroughly. Beat together the egg and cream. Mix the crumbs, flour, salt and pepper in a separate bowl. Dip the clams in the egg mixture and then into the crumbs and place in the wire basket of your deep-fat fryer. Fry at 375° until brown. Serve with your favorite tartar or cocktail sauce.