Beyond chowder: Recipes for cooking with clams

features@beaufortgazette.comJanuary 23, 2013 

Before you prepare shellfish, you should sniff them first. If they don't smell absolutely fresh, throw them out.

This a task I do not have to do when it comes to clams because I buy them in cans. Many people go digging for clams, and I am told it is fun. Like meat, fish and poultry, clams are an excellent source of high-quality proteins with sufficient amounts of essential amino acids.

Because clams have been established in our minds as a chowder ingredient, many people do not realize the wide variety of other dishes that can be prepared with this popular shellfish. Like oysters, clams also are enjoyed raw. They may be purchased fresh, canned or frozen in most supermarkets

As with most shellfish, clams require a short cooking time.

MAINE-STYLE CLAM CAKES

1 1/2 pints or cleaned clams (2 cups makes 12 cakes)

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups clam liquor and milk

3/4 cups salt

Pepper

2 cups cracker crumbs

Drain and chop clams coarsely. Beat eggs until light. Add clam liquor with milk. Add cracker crumbs, seasoning and chopped clams. Shape in flat cakes and flour. Handle as softly as possible. Saute in fat in frying pan or fry in deep until brown.

Source: Carrie K. Loring, "The Village Cookbook," Yarmouth, Maine

FRIED CLAMS

Makes: 6 servings

1 quart clams, drained

1 egg, beaten

1 tablespoon milk

1 teaspoon salt

Dash pepper

1 cup dry bread crumbs or cracker crumbs

Shortening

Drain clams. Combine egg, milk and seasonings. Dip clam in egg mixture and roll in crumbs. Place clams in a heavy frying pan that contains about 1/8 inch of shortening, hot but not smoking. Fry at moderate heat. When clams are done on one side, turn carefully and brown on other side for 5 to 8 minutes. Drain on absorbent paper.

Source: "Southern Living Fish and Shellfish Cookbook"

CLAM FRITTERS

Makes: 6 servings

1 pint clams

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 egg, beaten

1 cup milk

2 teaspoons grated onion

1 tablespoon butter or margarine, melted

Shortening

Drain clams and chop. Add dry ingredients and stir. Combine egg, milk and onion. Add to mixture and stir. Drop batter by teaspoonful into hot shortening at 350 degrees and fry for 3 minutes, or until golden brown. Drain on absorbent paper.

Source: "Southern Living Fish and Shellfish Cookbook"

STEAMED CLAMS

Scrub shell thoroughly; rinse well. Remove sand from the "neck" of large clams (split with scissors and press out sand; rinse thoroughly). Place clams on rack in large kettle with a tight-fitting cover; add 1/2 cup of water for each gallon of clams. Cover, steam until shells are partially open, about 8 to 10 minutes. Do not over cook. Serve very hot with a side dish of melted butter; allow 15 to 25 clams a person.

Source: "Southern Living fish and Shellfish Cookbook"

Columnist Ervena Faulkner is a Port Royal resident and a retired educator who has always had an interest in food and nutrition. Email her at features@beaufortgazette.com.

The Island Packet is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service