How to steam clams

With its chewy texture and briny flavour, clams make a delicious treat for seafood lovers. But you don't have to attend dinner at a pricey restaurant to enjoy a selection of mouth-watering clam dishes. Our helpful guide teaches you how to steam clams like the pros, so that you too can whip up a tasty clam recipe at home.

By Nadine Sharon Anglin

How to store and steam clams
©iStockphoto.com/4kodiak
How to store clams
Buy your clams as close to your cooking date as possible; they really are best when used very fresh and live. Once you get them home, rinse the clams in cool water using a colander. Then place them in a container and cover it with a damp cloth to keep the clams from drying out. (Avoid airtight containers as clams need oxygen to live.) They can stay like this in a cold refrigerator for a day or so.

Cleaning clams
Before you use your clams you must give them a cleaning. You'll want to get rid of any grit or sand that has made it this far in the journey. Use a stiff brush under running water and give the shells a good scrubbing. If there are any beards, trim them off using scissors.

How to steam clams
Steamed clams make for a great appetizer or first course -- plus, steaming couldn't be easier.

Your first step is to prepare your aromatics, such as onions, garlic or herbs. Place them in a medium-high saucepan and cook. Next, add your clams followed by some water (or your steaming liquid of choice) and cover with a lid. Be careful not to crowd your pan. Adding too many clams at once does not speed up the steaming process; it simply makes it difficult for the clams on the bottom to open up.

Steam the clams for about five to seven minutes or until the clams open, which means they’re ready. If any clams stay shut, discard them at once.

Here are a few ingredients and combos to try.

• Herbs, wine and minced garlic
• Citrus juice and ginger
• Hard cider
White wine
Beer

A classic way to finish off a bowl of freshly steamed clams is to top them with chopped parsley and a few lemon wedges for squeezing. Don’t forget to serve a side of good-quality crusty bread with your clams, because you don’t want to miss out on enjoying any of the earthy, flavourful broth.

For more tasty dishes featuring clams, try out one of these five recipes:
Beer Steamed Clams
Clams and Pasta in Parsley Wine Sauce
Linguine with Clams
Fettuccine Clam Bake
Chicken and Clam Soup

  • 1
  • 2
All rights reserved. Transcontinental Media G.P. © 2014