Steamed Clams

June 26, 2009

Fresh Steamed

Fresh BC Clams

I felt like eating mussels for dinner the other night. We have a great number of restaurants in the city that do excellent steamed mussels. However, rather unusual for me, I was reluctant to eat out. I was feeling frugal. Maybe because I have spent a little money on clothes lately. A little too much. I took my well-dressed self down to The Lobster Man on Granville Island to buy some mussels to cook at home, but they only had ones from PEI. It seemed silly to buy mussels that were from so far away, and probably weary from travel. Instead, I bought a few pounds of BC farmed clams. Here’s how I steamed them.

Serves 4 – I figure on one pound per person, you can adjust this recipe accordingly

4 pounds of fresh clams – if you’re not using them right away, put them into a bowl, cover with a damp tea towel, and keep them in the fridge. Don’t store them in a bag, they will suffocate.

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

4 shallots, minced

6 cloves of garlic, minced

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

1/2 teaspoon chili flakes, optional

10 fingerling or very small new potatoes, sliced

1 zucchini, chopped

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

2 fennel fronds, chopped, optional

1 tablespoon anise-flavored liquor, optional, we have Ricard in our cabinet

1 fresh lemon, in wedges

Heat a large, cast-iron pot over medium-high heat. Drizzle in olive oil and add shallots and garlic, cook briefly, and then add fennel seeds and chili flakes, if you’re using. Now it probably smells really good in your kitchen, all fragrant and garlicky. Add the sliced potatoes, stirring so they don’t stick to the bottom of your pot. The potatoes will need to cook for a few minutes, so turn back the heat a little. Sneak one out of the pot to taste, it should be slightly soft but still somewhat crisp and starchy-tasting. Add the zucchini, sea salt, and fennel.  Stir to combine and add the liquor, if you have some, or leave it out altogether. Carefully tip the clams into the pot, and remove any with cracked shells. Put a lid on, turn up your heat to high, and steam until most of them have opened. There will always be one or two stubborn ones that stay clammed up. Discard those. Serve immediately. You can divide the clams up amongst individual serving bowls, or plunk the pot down in the middle of the table and feast. Preferably in a cute new outfit. Don’t forget to accessorize your dinner with a brightly-coloured salad.

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3 Responses to “Steamed Clams”

  1. cour t e nay said

    They were amazing and the salad that was with it was so good as well. I also like to mix muscles and clams together.

  2. katie said

    Why wouldn’t you throw a few of those oven roasted tomatoes you made the other day too…sweet and salty all in one…my favourite… YUM!

  3. Fi said

    Ohhhhhh myyyyyy, I love clams. Earliest memories were from my dad who used to buy clams fresh off the sea in Brunei. He’d dump the whole thing into a pot to steam and we would dig in with fingers amok. That would be our after-school snack.

    I can smell that salt sea right now.

    Thanks for writing about this and the Lobster Man, I didn’t know about this place. Will go to him now for shellfish!

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