Clams are bivalves similar to oysters in both form and composition. Because of the similarity in composition, they are utilized in much the same ways as oysters, being used extensively for food in parts of the country where the supply is large. There are numerous varieties of clams, and some of them differ slightly from each other in appearance, color, and flavor. Preference
for the different varieties is largely a matter of individual taste.
Clams may be purchased loose or in the shell and they may be served in or out of the shell. However, when bought in the shell, they must be purchased alive and must be subjected to the same tests as are oysters. Their preparation for cooking is similar to that of oysters. If clams are to be opened in the home, first wash the clams to remove the sand, and then place a clam on a hard surface so that the pointed edge is up. Insert the thin edge of a knife into the very slight groove between the shells, or valves, and with a heavy utensil of some kind strike the top of the knife several times so as to separate the valves. Then, as in opening oysters, spread the shells apart, as shown, and loosen the clam from the shell it adheres to.
To prepare steamed clams, scrub the shells of the clams until they are perfectly clean. Place the desired number thus cleaned in a saucepan and add enough water to cover the bottom of the pan about
1 inch. Allow this to cook until the shells of
the clams open. Remove the clams from the pan and serve them in the shells.
Provide each person with a small dish of melted butter into which to dip the
clams as they are removed from the shells to be eaten. The liquid found in the
clams may be poured from the shell before the clams are served, and after being
well seasoned may be served as clam broth.
Another very appetizing way in which to prepare clams is to combine them with bread crumbs, season them well, and then bake them until they are well browned. Select several good-sized clams for each person to be served. Scrub the shells well and open them. Remove the clams and chop them into small pieces. To each cupful of chopped clams, add 2 cupfuls of buttered bread crumbs, 1 tablespoonful of chopped parsley, 1 tablespoonful of chopped pimiento, and 1 tablespoonful of onion juice. Season the mixture with salt and pepper and fill the shells with it. Place these in a shallow pan and bake in a very hot oven until the crumbs are well browned on top. Serve hot.
FRIED CLAMS -1
As oysters make a very desirable dish when fried in deep fat, so clams may be treated in this way, too. Remove the desired number of clams from the shells, wash them thoroughly, and dry them on a clean towel. Dip them into beaten egg, and finally into the crumbs. Fry in deep fat until they are a golden brown. Serve with slices of lemon.
FRIED CLAMS -2
After opening them as oysters, wash them in their own liquor and drain then; make a batter of an egg, flour and pepper; dip them in this, and fry them in butter.
Strain the liquor and stew them in it for about twenty minutes; make a thickening of flour, water and pepper; stir this in and let it boil up; have some bread toasted and buttered in a deep dish, and pour the clams over. Clam soup may be made by putting an equal quantity of water with the liquor, and putting in toasted bread, crackers or dumplings.
CLAM SOUP -1
Mince two dozen hard shell clams very fine. Fry half a minced onion in an ounce of butter; add to it a pint of hot water, a pinch of mace, four cloves, one allspice and six whole pepper corns. Boil fifteen minutes and strain into a saucepan; add the chopped clams and a pint of clam-juice or hot water; simmer slowly two hours; strain and rub the pulp through a sieve into the liquid. Return it to the saucepan and keep it lukewarm. Boil three half-pints of milk in a saucepan (previously wet with cold water, which prevents burning) and whisk it into the soup. Dissolve a teaspoonful of flour in cold milk, add it to the soup, taste for seasoning; heat it gently to near the boiling point; pour into a tureen previously heated with hot water, and serve with or without pieces of fried bread.
CLAM SOUP -2
Twenty-five clams chopped fine. Put over the fire the liquor that was drained from them, and a cup of water; add the chopped clams and boil half an hour; then season to taste with pepper and salt and a piece of
butter as large as an egg; boil up again and add one quart of milk boiling hot, stir in a tablespoon of flour made to a cream with a little cold milk, or two crackers rolled fine. Some like a little mace and lemon juice in the seasoning.