How to Cook Clams: A Beginner's Guide – Seaco Online
Left Continue shopping
Your Order

You have no items in your cart

You might like
Promotion
Read more
Seaco-online.com completes revamp of our website to bring you a better seafood buying experience!

How to Cook Clams: A Beginner's Guide

If you're a seafood lover, you must have tried clams at some point. These little morsels are delicious, nutritious, and versatile. They can be steamed, boiled, baked, grilled, or fried and served as an appetizer, main course, or side dish.

However, cooking clams can be intimidating for some people, especially if they have never done it before.

In this article, you will learn how to cook clams like a pro, whether you prefer them in a soup, pasta, or salad.

Clams sizzle in a pot with garlic, white wine, and parsley. Steam rises as the shells open, releasing their briny aroma

Before you start cooking your clams, you need to know how to prepare them. This involves cleaning, shucking, and purging them of sand and grit. You also need to know how to select fresh clams and store them properly.

We will cover all these topics in detail, so you can enjoy your clams without any worries.

Once you have prepared your clams, you can start cooking them using various techniques and recipes.

You can steam them with white wine, garlic, and butter, or bake them with breadcrumbs and herbs.

You can also use them to make a classic clam chowder, a spicy linguine with clams, or a refreshing clam and avocado salad.

We will provide you with step-by-step instructions and tips for each method, so you can choose the one that suits your taste and skill level.

Key Takeaways

  • Cleaning, shucking, and purging clams is essential before cooking them.
  • Clams can be cooked using various techniques and recipes, such as steaming, baking, and chowder.
  • Freshness, quality, and storage are important factors to consider when buying and cooking clams.

Preparing Your Clams

Clams being rinsed in cold water, then steamed in a pot with white wine, garlic, and herbs until they open

Before you start cooking your clams, you need to make sure that they are clean and free from any sand or grit. Here are a few tips on how to prepare your clams:

Cleaning and Purging

First, you need to clean your clams to remove sand and grit. Rinse them under cold, running water.

You can also soak them in a bowl of cold water for 20-30 minutes. Add a tablespoon of salt or cornmeal to the water to help the clams purge the sand.

After soaking, lift the clams out of the water and rinse them again. Discard any clams that are open or cracked.

Shucking and Inspection

Once your clams are clean, you can start shucking them. You will need a clam knife or a small, sturdy knife to do this.

Hold the clam in one hand and insert the knife into the hinge. Twist the knife to pry open the shell.

Run the knife along the inside of the top shell to loosen the clam. Remove the top shell and discard it.

Inspect the clam to make sure it is healthy and free of debris. If you find a damaged or dead clam, discard it.

After shucking your clams, store them in the refrigerator until you are ready to cook them. Do not store them in water or they will drown.

Cooking Techniques and Recipes

Clams being steamed in a large pot with garlic, white wine, and parsley, releasing their briny aroma as they open

When it comes to cooking clams, there are several techniques and recipes you can try out. Here are some of the most popular methods:

Steaming Clams with Wine and Herbs

Steaming is one of the most common ways to cook clams.

To steam clams with wine and herbs, you will need a saucepan or steamer.

First, clean the clams thoroughly and discard any that are open or cracked.

Heat some butter and olive oil in the saucepan and add garlic, shallots, and red pepper flakes.

Then, add some dry white wine, fresh parsley, and lemon juice to the pan.

Place the clams in the steamer basket and put it over the saucepan. Cover the steamer and cook for about 5-10 minutes until the clams open up. Discard any clams that do not open.

Grilled and Baked Variations

If you prefer your clams grilled or baked, there are many recipes you can try.

For example, you can grill clams with bacon and tomatoes.

First, clean the clams and discard any that are open.

Fry some bacon in a pan until it becomes crispy, then add chopped tomatoes, fennel, and cilantro.

Stir the mixture and pour it over the clams. Grill the clams for about 5-7 minutes until they open up.

Alternatively, you can bake clams with breadcrumbs and cheese.

Mix breadcrumbs, grated cheese, chopped parsley, and garlic in a bowl.

Place the clams on a baking sheet and sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over them.

Drizzle some olive oil on top and bake in the oven for about 10 minutes until the clams are cooked through.

Incorporating Clams into Soups and Pastas

Clams can also be incorporated into soups and pastas.

For example, you can make clam chowder by sautéing onions and celery in a pan, then adding clam juice and potatoes.

Cook the mixture until the potatoes are tender, then add cream and clams.

Simmer the chowder for about 5-10 minutes until the clams are cooked through.

Another popular dish is cioppino, a seafood stew that includes clams, mussels, and other seafood.

Sauté onions, garlic, and red pepper flakes in a pot, then add canned tomatoes, fish stock, and white wine.

Add the clams and other seafood to the pot and simmer until everything is cooked through.

Frequently Asked Questions

A pot of steaming clams, surrounded by various cooking utensils and ingredients, with a computer screen displaying a "Frequently Asked Questions" page on how to cook clams

What's the best way to prepare clams on the hob?

The best way to prepare clams on the hob is to steam them.

Add some liquid to a large saucepan such as water, white wine, or clam juice.

Bring the liquid to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer.

Add the clams to the saucepan and cover with a lid. Steam for about 5-8 minutes until the clams open up. Discard any unopened clams.

Can you tell me how to steam clams without their shells?

Steaming clams without their shells can be done by removing the clams from their shells before cooking them.

To do this, you can use a small knife to gently pry the clam meat away from the shell.

Once the clam meat is removed, place it in a steamer basket and steam for about 5-8 minutes until the clams are cooked through.

What's the trick to making clams for a pasta dish?

The trick to making clams for a pasta dish is to cook them separately and then add them to the pasta dish at the end.

To do this, cook the clams using your preferred method, such as steaming or boiling.

Once the clams are cooked, remove them from their shells and set them aside.

Add the cooked pasta to a saucepan with your preferred sauce and heat through.

Add the clams to the pasta and sauce mixture and stir gently to combine.

How long should I boil clams for them to be properly cooked?

Boiling clams is not recommended as it can make them tough and rubbery. The best way to cook clams is to steam them.

To steam clams, add some liquid to a large saucepan such as water, white wine, or clam juice.

Bring the liquid to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer.

Add the clams to the saucepan and cover with a lid. Steam for about 5-8 minutes until the clams open up. Discard any unopened clams.

Is it possible to cook clams straight from the freezer, and if so, how?

It is not recommended to cook clams straight from the freezer.

It is best to thaw them first in the refrigerator overnight.

Once thawed, you can cook them using your preferred method, such as steaming or boiling.

Could you give me a tip on how to bake clams in the oven?

To bake clams in the oven, preheat the oven to 200°C. Remove the clams from their shells and place them on a baking sheet.

In a small bowl, mix together some breadcrumbs, grated Parmesan cheese, chopped parsley, and melted butter. Spoon the breadcrumb mixture over the top of each clam.

Bake for about 10-12 minutes until the breadcrumbs are golden brown and the clams are cooked through.