I love steamed clams. I can eat them by the dozens and never get bored of them. Below are two recipes that I like to use because they are easy to follow and the dishes turn out simply clammy and tasty.
I highly recommend using fresh clams in these recipes. Before cooking fresh clams, scrub them under cold running water and discard any with open shells that don't close when tapped.
Clams are easy to grill. Cook fresh cleaned clams on the grill over high heat until they are open. Great alternative if you want to go for the "Surf and Turf" theme!
Cantonese Style Steamed Clams
(From Martin Yan's Chinatown Cooking book)
1 to 1.5 lbs fresh littleneck hard-shell clams, 2 tbs salted black beans- rinsed and lightly mashed, 2 tsp chili sauce, 1 tsp minced ginger, 1 tsp minced garlic, 0.5 cup chicken broth, 1 tbs soy sauce, 1 tbs Chinese rice wine or dry sherry, 2 cups water, 1 tbs veg oil, 0.25 cup fresh and shredded basil leaves, 2 scallions- trimmed and cut in thin strips and 1 tbs cornstarch- dissolved in 2 tbs water
1. Stir salted black beans, chili sauce, ginger and garlic together in a small bowl
2. In a separate bowl, combine chicken stock, soy sauce and rice wine
3. In a large saucepan, boil 2 cups of water. Add clams, cover and cook until they are open (5 to 6 mins)
4. Drain the clams. Remove any unopened clams and set aside
5. Heat wok over high heat. Add oil to coat the bottom of wok. Add the black bean mixture and stir fry until fragrant (~1 min). Add the broth mixture and bring to a boil
6. Add clams, basil and scallions. Stir gently to coat clams with sauce
7. Stir in dissolved cornstarch and cook until sauce boils and thickens (~30 seconds)
8. Remove from heat and serve immediately with rice
Steamed Clams with Butter Sauce
1 to 1.5 lbs fresh littleneck hard-shell clams, 2 cloves garlic- minced, 1 tbs butter, 1 tbs olive oil, 2 cups water, 4 tbs butter, 1 tsp dried garlic powder, 1 tsp dried parsley and 1 tsp dried basil. Optional 1 jalapeño pepper- sliced
1. Over medium heat, heat 1 tbs butter and olive oil. Add garlic and pepper slices. Stir until garlic is slightly brown
2. Add clams and 2 cups of water. Cover and cook until they are open (5 to 6 mins)
3. Remove from heat. Drain clams but reserve excess liquid. Remove any unopened clams and set aside
4. In a small microwaveable bowl, add butter and dried herbs. Place in the microwave and cook for 15 seconds on HIGH. Remove bowl from microwave and combine the butter mixture. If the sauce is not completely liquid, microwave for another 5 to 10 seconds
5. Serve the clams with the butter sauce
Tips: You can toss cooked pasta in the excess liquid. The excess liquid can be used for flavoring soups, dishes and stews or served as a dipping sauce for bread. Note that the liquid can be very salty, so use salt sparingly.