How to Cook Clams

Five Methods:SteamingDeep FryingPan FryingGrilling[4]Baking

Clams are a popular type of shellfish that can be cooked using a variety of simple methods. If you're interested in knowing how to steam, deep fry, pan fry, grill, or bake your next batch of clams, keep reading.

Ingredients

Makes 3 to 4 servings

Method One: Steaming

  • 4 lb (1800 g) fresh clams
  • 1 cup (250 mL) white wine
  • 4 tsp (20 mL) minced garlic
  • 4 Tbsp (60 mL) butter

Method Two: Deep Frying

  • 4 lb (1800 g) fresh clams, shucked
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) milk
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) cold water
  • 1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) salt
  • 3/4 cup (175 mL) finely ground yellow corn flour
  • 1/3 cup (80 mL) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp (1.25 mL) onion powder
  • Cooking oil

Method Three: Pan Frying

  • 4 lb (1800 g) fresh clams, shucked
  • 4 Tbsp (60 mL) butter or cooking oil

Method Four: Grilling

  • 4 lb (1800 g) fresh clams
  • Melted butter (optional)
  • Lemon wedges (optional)

Method Five: Baking

  • 3 lb (1350 g) fresh clams
  • 1 cup (250 mL) cornmeal
  • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) salt
  • 3 cups (750 mL) bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) grated Parmesan
  • 2 lemons, zested and juiced
  • 1 Tbsp (15 mL) chopped garlic
  • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) pesto
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) fresh parsley leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) olive oil
  • 1/4 lb (115 g) clarified or unsalted butter

Method 1
Steaming[1]

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    Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Preheat the saucepan over medium heat and add the butter.
    • Tilt the pan as the butter melts so that the entire bottom gets coated.
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    Cook the garlic. Add the minced garlic and cook, stirring frequently with a heat-resistant spatula, until the garlic turns a light brown or tan color.
    • Do not let the garlic blacken and burn. If the garlic becomes burnt, discard it and clean the butter from the pan before starting over.
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    Add the clams to the saucepan. Pour a single layer of clams into the bottom of the saucepan and stir until the clams are coated with the garlic butter.
    • You will need to cook the clams in batches. Do not stack the clams on top of each other in the pan since doing so will make it difficult for any clams on the bottom layer to open.
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    • Stirring and coating the clams helps to ensure that the heat will be evenly distributed.
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    Add the wine. Add roughly 1/4 cup (60 mL) white wine per one dozen clams.
    • The wine adds flavor to the clams, but more importantly, it creates the steam needed to cook the meat and open the shells. It also decreases the heat in the pan.
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    Cover and cook. Let the clams cook for roughly 4 minutes before removing the cover. The clams are finished once they open.
    • Clams only open when they are completely cooked.
      Image titled Cook Clams Step 5Bullet1
    • If any clams have not opened, remove the clams that have opened and continue cooking the unopened clams for another 1 to 2 minutes. If the clams still do not open, discard them, since they might be bad.
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    • Avoid over-cooking the clams since doing so will cause them to become tough.
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    Serve warm. Transfer the clams to a serving platter and enjoy immediately.
    • The clams will release clam juice upon opening. You can serve this clam juice with the clams, alongside pasta or fresh bread.

Method 2
Deep Frying[2]

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    Shuck the clams. If the clams are still in their shells, remove them before frying them.
    • Place the clams in a freezer for five minutes so that the meat loosens from the shell.
    • Hold the clam in one hand with the shell hinge toward your palm.
      Image titled Cook Clams Step 7Bullet2
    • Insert a dull knife in between the shell. Saw around the shell until you cut through the hinge and open the shell.
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    • Slide the knife in between the clam meat and the top and bottom shell to remove the meat.
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    Let the clams soak in the milk, water, and salt. Mix the milk, water, and salt in a large bowl until well blended. Place the clams in this mixture and refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours.
    • As the clams soak, they should take in some of the moisture and flavor from the milk, water, and salt.
    • If you are short on time, you can reduce the amount of soaking time to 20 or 30 minutes. This is not preferable, but you should still be able to coat and cook the clams.
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    Mix the two flours and onion powder. Stir together the all-purpose flour, corn flour, and onion powder in a shallow dish until thoroughly blended.
    • Do this near the end of the soaking time, immediately before you prepare to take the clams out of the refrigerator.
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    Dredge the clams in the coating. Let each clam drain slightly as you pull it out from the milk mixture. Then, toss each clam into the flour mixture and dredge until all sides are coated.
    • To drain the clams, simply hold each one above the bowl for roughly 30 seconds or until you no longer notice liquid dripping off.
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    • You can use your fingers or a pair of tongs to dredge the clams.
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    Heat oil in a deep saucepan. Fill a heavy saucepan with deep sides a little less than halfway with oil. Bring the oil up to roughly 365 degrees Fahrenheit (185 degrees Celsius) by heating it over medium-high heat on the stove.
    • Use a candy thermometer to monitor the temperature.
    • A deep fryer can also be used instead of a heavy saucepan.
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    Fry the coated clams. Toss a few clams into the hot oil until they turn golden-brown. This should take roughly 3 minutes.
    • Only fry a few clams at a time. Adding too many will lower the temperature of the oil too dramatically.
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    Drain and serve. Remove fried clams from the hot oil using a heat-resistant slotted spoon. Drain the clams on several layers of clean paper towels and serve as desired.
    • You can serve the clams with salt and pepper, lemon wedges, or tartar sauce.
      Image titled Cook Clams Step 13Bullet1

Method 3
Pan Frying[3]

  1. 1
    Shuck the clams. Remove the clams from their shells if they are still intact.
    • Let the clams sit in a freezer for five minutes or until the meat loosens from the shell.
      Image titled Cook Clams Step 14Bullet1
    • While holding the clam in one hand, with the shell hinge toward your palm, insert a dull knife into the shell. Saw around the perimeter of the shell until you cut through the hinge. Open the shell with your fingers
      Image titled Cook Clams Step 14Bullet2
    • Slide the knife in between the clam meat and the top and bottom shells. Transfer the meat to a separate dish and discard the shells.
      Image titled Cook Clams Step 14Bullet3
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    Heat the butter in the a large skillet. Preheat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. After a minute or two, add the butter or oil.
    • Turn and tilt the pan as needed to allow the butter to coat the entire bottom surface.
      Image titled Cook Clams Step 15Bullet1
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    Add the clam meat and sautée. Gradually add the clam meat to the melted butter and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until slightly browned.
    • Cook the clam meat in batches and never allow the amount of clams to exceed a single layer inside of the pan. Do not pile too many clams into the pan at once, since doing so will prevent even cooking.
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    Serve hot. Transfer the cooked clams to a serving platter and serve with melted butter, salt and pepper, or other desired accompaniments.

Method 4
Grilling[4][5]

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    Prepare and preheat the grill. Cover the grill grate with aluminum foil and pierce the foil with a knife to create holes. Let the grill heat to a medium-high temperature.
    • By covering the grill grate with foil, you will be able to catch more of the clam juice that leaks out. The foil can be omitted if desired, however.
    • If using a gas grill, preheat all the burners to a medium-high heat.
    • If using a charcoal grill, spread a single layer of coals over the bottom of the grill. Light, and let the flames go until white ash begins to form on the top of the coals.
    • Use oven mitts to reposition the grill rack so that it is 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm) above the flames or coals.
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    Arrange clams on the grill rack. Scatter the clams onto the grill rack in a single layer.
    • Do not pile the clams into the rack in multiple layers. The top layers will not receive enough heat and the bottom layers will have too much weight on them to open.
    • If necessary, cook the clams in batches.
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    Grill the clams until the shells open. Cook the clams on the grill, without turning or flipping for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the clams as soon as their shells pop open.
    • Discard any clams that refuse to open, as these have likely gone bad and are not safe to eat.
    • As the clams pop open, they will release clam juice. Collect this juice, if possible, to serve alongside the clams.
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    Serve hot. Pile the clams onto a serving platter and serve with clam juice, lemon wedges, and melted butter.

Method 5
Baking[6]

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    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (177 degrees Celsius). Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with aluminum foil.
    • The aluminum foil is not absolutely necessary, but it will help to prevent the baking sheet from burning or becoming slimy.
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    Soak the clams. Place the clams in a bucket and add enough water to cover them. Stir in the cornmeal and salt and let soak as the oven preheats.
    • Soaking the clams in this manner should loosen the shells.
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    Prepare the stuffing. Combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, lemon zest, pesto, parsley, and olive oil in a bowl. Add half of the clarified butter or melted unsalted butter and mix together until moist.
    • While the stuffing mix should be moist, it should not be dripping wet or soaked.
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    • Only add the remaining butter if necessary, and do so 1 Tbsp (15 mL) at a time to avoid over-soaking the stuffing mix.
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    Stuff each clam. Remove the clams from the water and pry them open with your fingers. Stuff the clams with enough of the stuffing mix to cover the meat completely.
    • If you cannot open the clams with your fingers, glide a thin, dull knife in between the shell halves and cut around the perimeter until loosened.
      Image titled Cook Clams Step 25Bullet1
    • Position the stuffed clams on your prepared baking sheet.
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    Bake for 12 minutes. Cook the clams in the preheated oven until the stuffing turns golden brown.
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    Serve hot. Remove the finished clams from the oven and transfer them to a serving platter.

Tips

  • Only use clams that are closed before preparation. Do not use clams that are chipped, broken, or damaged.
  • Clean the clams before cooking them. Soak for 20 minutes in fresh water. After they soak, pull them out of the water instead of draining them through a colander. Scrub the clams with a firm brush to remove any other bits of sand or debris.[7]

Things You'll Need

Method One: Steaming

  • Large saucepan
  • Heat-resistant spatula
  • Serving platter

Method Two: Deep Frying

  • Dull knife
  • Large bowl
  • Whisk
  • Shallow dish
  • Tongs
  • Large saucepan
  • Candy thermometer
  • Slotted spoon
  • Paper towels
  • Serving platter

Method Three: Pan Frying

  • Large skillet
  • Heat-resistant spatula
  • Serving platter

Method Four: Grilling

  • Grill and fuel
  • Aluminum foil
  • Tongs
  • Serving dish

Method Five: Baking

  • Baking sheet
  • Aluminum foil
  • Bucket
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Spoon
  • Dull knife

Article Info

Categories: Fish and Seafood