I don’t know if it’s the fact my son and his girlfriend are flying off from Seattle to take in New York sights and also visit with my daughter who resides there next weekend or just a hankering but today while shopping like two newlyweds with the love of my life at the supermarket after hitting a farmer’s market, I decided I had to have those delectable Little Neck Clams behind the smooth, clear glass, next to the adorned, garnished red pepper made to look like a starfish in the iced seafood section. I immediately unloaded groceries once home and proceeded to make an old Long Island stand by –
Steamed Little Neck Clams: For 18 clams or 2.75 lbs. Serves one hungry Long Islander or two – three appetizers for normal hungry people.
Rinse your clams. Sometimes you have to scrub the beard or tiny hairs that develop around the opening of the bivalve but we usually get them pretty cleaned up in our supermarkets around here. The clam shells should be closed. Any clam that does not close when you touch it, needs to be discarded. They instinctually will shut their door when you knock. If they remain slightly ajar and do not respond to your tap, they are not edible. We want live not dead clams to begin with or you will get ill.
Chop up one or two peeled garlic cloves and two scallions or ‘green onions’ as we call them here out west. Sautee in a wide bottomed pan with one teaspoon of olive oil. Add a few red pepper flakes if desired for extra punch.
After about 3-5 minutes, uncover and add your fresh herbs. I tossed in some basil from the garden, no need to chop unless you are on a Master or Top Chef competition. This is also a great time to add another splash of olive oil. I added one teaspoon (40 calories). Cover and let steam longer. Healthy clams do not want to open up. The muscles on either side of the shells keep them closed tight and we don’t eat this part. Notice how they are starting to lose their battle and are slightly opening up. Sea water and clam juice gets released into your broth and no salt is required. Eventually, the clam surrenders its life and releases its grip and that’s when the shells open wide. Metaphor?
If you have linguine boiling, drain and place under your clams, for classic Linguini with Clams. Once all the clams open @ 7-10 more minutes, remove them one by one in their shell (for presentation purposes) onto a platter or deep dish.
Pour the whole shebang onto your awaiting clams.
Maybe I will re-run my story on Clam Digging over the next few days.