- Bettina Applewhite
Easy Summertime Clams
During the summer seafood is my go-to protein. Maybe I tend to lean towards seafood because during the hot summer months I want to be near the sea. The sounds of the waves crashing is like a soothing lullaby. If you're able to find some clams, it's a great way to bring the ocean right into your home.
In order to get delicious clams you've got to make sure you have good product and it's cleaned correctly. You definitely don't want sand in your clams or bad clams. Scrub the outside of the clams to remove any grime or dirt. The entire clam will be used while cooking so you want to make sure it's clean. But you also want to clean out the inside of the clams. But that doesn't mean opening the clams. Clams have to be cooked alive. They don't move and you can't see them "breathing" but as long as they don't have any cracks or are already open before you cook them, those clams are definitely alive.
To clean out the clams from the inside it takes a little patience. First throw out any clams that have cracks in the shell. Grab a large bowl and fill halfway with water. Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of Kosher salt. Stir until dissolved. Place your clams in the salted water and let sit for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, you'll notice sand at the bottom of the bowl. Remove the clams. Rinse out the bowl and complete this process 2 more times. After 3 complete processes of sitting in salted water for 20 minutes each, your clams should be sand-free. Now scrub the shells to remove any outside dirt. Now your clams are ready to cook.
It's important to know which clams should be thrown out. If there are cracks in the shell before you cook the clams, they should be thrown out. If a clam doesn't open as you finish cooking, then throw it out. New force a clam open to scoop out it's meat. It's bad meat. It could make you sick. If your clams have been handled properly, then you shouldn't have to throw away too many clams.
It's best to cook your clams the same day that you buy them or within a day or two. You can keep your clams in the fridge in the mess netting that they come in. Make sure that they are not in a plastic bag or covered with other items. Keep the clams cold but do not freeze. Do not hold them in water.
There's so many ways to cook clams. This is the perfect summer recipe because the broth is light and lemon-y and it's great to eat with some friends around the patio table with some crusty bread. You have to have crusty bread to make sure you get all of that wonderful broth.
This is the best way for me to get the beach without having to get in the car for a 3 to 4 hour drive. Try the recipe out and let me know if you find yourself transported to the beach.
Clams in a Garlic Lemon Cream Broth
3 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, divided
3 Tbsp Garlic, Chopped
3 Tbsp Green Onions, Chopped
2 lbs Littleneck Clams, Cleaned as instructed above
1 1/2 Cups White Wine (I used Pinot Gris)
1 1/2 Cups Chicken or Vegetable Broth
Juice of Half a Lemon
1/2 Cup of Heavy Cream
Chopped Parsley for Garnish
1. In a heavy bottom stockpot or Dutch oven, melt 2 Tbsp of butter. Add in garlic and green onions. Cook over medium heat for 3 - 5 minutes, until softened.
2. Add in the clams and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Add the wine and broth to the pot. Bring to a rolling boil and then reduce to a simmer. Clams are done once opened. You can remove clams as they open wide. If any clams do not open, discard them.
4. Once all clams have opened, remove from heat. Stir in lemon juice, cream, and remaining butter. Add any clams you removed back to the pot. Garnish with chopped parsley. Enjoy immediately with crusty bread.