Peasy Squeezy Clams are Easy

Caprese Inspired Steamed Clams

This is a definite go-to, easy, tasty dinner. Scale it up for many, scale it down for fewer. Or just eat more. Every time I make it there are variations, pretty hard to mess up though. I thought today I would pay attention to the inputs and share the resulting output.

Caprese Inspired Steamed Clams

Ingredients:

  • Fresh Clams – as many as you want…. We buy the 5 lb bag at Costco, eat about 3 lbs for a 2 person dinner and give the other 2 lbs to MIL. We could totally eat all five…..
  • ¼ Cooking Sherry (If you have it – if not, just use a chicken broth or white wine)
  • 1 can chicken broth, reduced sodium preferred
  • 3 TBSP butter, salted or unsalted, just know which one
  • 1 shallot (if you have them, I don’t always, ok to leave out, but I am discovering the nice dimension they bring), chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 pint of cherry tomatoes, or so, cut in half
  • 2 TBSP minced garlic
  • Salt (I don’t use if using sherry, broth and salted butter – adds up quick)
  • Pepper
  • 2 – 4 TBSP fresh basil

Instructions

  1. Clean/rinse/wash the clams, if so inclined. Sometimes I soak, sometimes I don’t….
  2. Melt 2 T of butter in a large fry pan
  3. Sauté chopped shallot and chopped onion for a few minutes until they just begin to brown
  4. Add half the garlic and keep sautéing another minute or so
  5. Add the cherry tomatoes and sauté them for just a quick minute
  6. Add some fresh ground pepper
  7. Add half of the chopped basil. Stir around and give it about a minute to cook with the other fine ingredients
  8. Add the rest of garlic. (I think having some cooked more and some less, provides variations on flavor. AND the chance for you to customize to taste)
  9. Add about a ¼ cup of cooking sherry, to sort of deglaze the pan. Cook for a minute or two until the liquid reduces down a bit
  10. Add in about ½ of the chicken broth can and another 1 T of butter, for good measure
  11. Cook at a near boil until the butter melts. Taste the broth. Is it flavorful? Balanced? You are good to go. If not reduce a little more and/or add a scosche more of sherry or butter. Taste again
  12. Drain your clams, if soaking them, and add them into the pan. Pour in most of the remaining chicken broth.
  13. Turn up the heat, put on the lid and Steam, Baby, Steam!
  14. Steam maybe 5 minutes, then lift the lid and check if they are opening up. Put lid back on but leave it cracked to allow liquid to reduce. For another minute or so.
  15. When all the clams are open, they are ready.
  16. Sprinkle on remaining fresh basil and stir it all around.

Serve in bowls with bread to mop up the tasty broth. Also, clam shells make excellent spoon to with which to slurp the sauce. At our house, we put the pan on the table and scoop into our bowls right out of it, not messing around with the middle man serving bowl. You can also make up pasta and serve, with a little less, broth, and add some parmesan cheese.

Bivalve mollusk Party Trivia:

Oh the irony!
“Clamor,” means a lot of noise, racket – the real life opposite of “clamming up.”

Fresh clams should be moist, and cold, but when something, like your hands, is moist and cold it is clammy, the word “clammy” is not related to “clam.”

Get with the lingo! One (especially if eating this recipe) can be “happy as a clam.” The rest of phrase that explains the source of happiness has been dropped with time, but probably has to be something like … at high tide..

But when we refuse to talk, we “clam up” and become “quiet as a clam.” Clams are pretty darn quiet and good secret keepers.

Small but Mighty! Clams filter up to 20 gallons of water each day (about 2 per hour) but an oyster can do at least double that. But even more impressive the blood sugar of the clams served as the energy source for the biofuel cells. Holy Moly! Learn more about this here. A bit Franksteiny looking but I will take a clam over a cyborg snail (wasn’t that in Terminator or something)

Keep Clam and Carry On….

Thank you to Google for rounding trivia sites up, ivars.com, mnn.com, Rutgers, weloveclams.com for the factoids

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