Tips to Consider When Cooking Clams
Clams are delicious any way they are cooked. From plain boiling to eating them raw, they are among the most delicious foods on earth. When buying clams, ask your fishmonger for the harvest date to know how many days they have been harvested. Clams are at most excellent if they are not more than four days old.
Check for Freshness
There are many types of clams in a broad variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. If the shells are tightly closed, they are alive. If the shell is slightly opened, it should quickly close when tapped. If the shell is open and does not close when tapped, or damaged in any way, don’t buy it. Fresh clams hold the smell of the sea and not fishy, while shucked clams should be sold in clear and not muddy liquid. As soon as you reach home, unwrap fresh clams immediately so they can breathe, otherwise, they will be suffocated and go bad.
Cleaning Your Clams
Once home, rinse shellfish under running water and brush to scrub off any loose debris or ingested sand. Place in a bowl or pot of water and salt. A good example is stirring 1/3 cup of salt to 4 cups of cold water and let the clams sit on the salted water for 20 to 30 minutes. After the process, simply rinse well. This will help clean deep-seated sand from inside the shells.
Cooking Your Clams
You may decide how to cook your clams. To boil and steam, add the shellfish to boiling water or steamer and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the shells open. Reject ones that do not open after cooking. This means that clams were not alive at the beginning of your cooking and maybe polluted with bacteria or toxins.
It is ideal to cook gently at low heat as extended high heat can toughen the meat. For barbecued clams, arrange shellfish on a grill and cook until they open. Dispose of those that do not open after cooking. If you are eating them raw, look for the smallest clams. Their flesh is the most desirable for eating raw. The larger the clams go the tougher meat it gets.
A good knife is generally used to open clams. Hold the knife in your right hand with the clam in your left hand. Cut the knife into the clam gently pushing as far as it will go to cut the muscle that keeps the shells together. Spin the knife to open the shell.
Prior to cooking, place your shellfish in a bowl and leave in the open air so water will drain out naturally. Do not store live clams in an airtight container or plastic bag or they will die. Although clams are best when cooked as soon as possible, you may refrigerate in a bowl covered with a damp towel after cleaning. Clams will maintain its taste for 2 to 3 days. Shucked clams can be stored covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Canned clams should only be opened for use. Opened canned clams can be refrigerated for up to four days.
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