Easiest way to make steamed clams is
to put a bunch of littleneck or cherrystone
clams in a bowl, and heat the bowl in the
microwave until the shells pop open.
Eight medium clams usually take about eight minutes.
Make sure the clams are thoroughly rinsed
before cooking. Save the juice at the bottom of
the bowl for making clam sauce or chow-duh, or
just drink it. Pour it slowly from one container to
another to eliminate most of the the sand, or
pour it through a cloth or paper filter.
Traditionalists dip steamed clams in melted
butter. I like melted butter, AND cocktail sauce.
You can probably steam any kind of clam, but one kind of clam is
actually called the steamer. It's also known as the soft-shell clam,
Manninose, piss clam, long-neck clam, fried clam, Ipswich clam,
and belly clam. Its shell is so thin and brittle that you can easily
snap it into pieces with your fingers. The entire clam is too big to
fit inside its shell. The siphon (also called the snout or neck)
hangs out. They're called piss clams, because the siphon often
sticks up through the sand, and when you walk by, they squirt you.
Photo shows a traditional
shellfish steaming set. Liquid
goes in the bottom, and then
clams go into the basket, which
keeps th clams in the steam,
but out of the liquid. Other
items, such as corn, can go in
the shallow basket which goes
a the top of the deep basket.
STEAMING & EATING INSTRUCTIONS
Put two inches of water and/or beer and/or wine into the pot.
Add half an onion, bay leaf, peppercorn or other herbs for flavor.
Bring to boil, then put clams into the basket. Discard any broken clams before cooking.
Steam clams for 6 - 10 minutes until they all open fully. Do not eat the clams that do not open.
Remove clams and strain broth into individual bowls with 1/2 teaspoon butter to dip the clams in, or save them to make clam sauce.
Before you eat, remove the thing that looks like a condom. It's like taking a sock off your foot.
Rinse the clam in warm water or clam juice, and dip in melted butter or margarine.
Some purists, including cousin Jill, brother Marshall, and neighbor Ralph, don't rinse or dip, and have survived. The sand has probably made their teeth nice and smooth.
Photo from www.kitchenfoodgarden.com. Thanks.