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How to Buy & Cook Clams

Learn how to buy and cook clams in this Howcast food video with Chef Brendan McDermott.


What we have here today are some really nice clams. When you're buying clams, what you're looking for is something kind of like oysters or even mussels. You want to make sure that they're sealed. This is probably a strong key that they're still alive. You want to make sure that they stay nice and clean. You can always smell them, make sure they're not smelling a little rank or anything like that. When you get clams, you might want to just keep them on a little bed of ice with a little damp paper towel on top or a little kitchen rag, just to make sure that they nice and wet and cold, but that they can breathe. Don't wrap them in plastic because they'll start suffocating and they'll die. What we want to do is we want to keep these things alive until you shuck them or until you bake them.

Some really great ways to cook with clams are you can just pop them open in a nice little Minette, or a nice little lemon juice, a little salt and so on. A little Tabasco sauce is nice. You can do that, but I prefer baking them. I really like them when they're either baked off with a little bread crumb and butter and some garlic. Or you can even open them like mussels and throw them into a nice hot pot and steam them, kind of like a good old school clam bake, and really just open them up. After you've stored them on ice and you've got them ice and cooled down for a little bit, you have a couple days on them. But when you buy them just definitely make sure that you have a date of when they were harvested so that you really know how old they are.

Whenever you're buying any seafood or clams or mussels, whenever you're buying them just make sure you're getting them from a really reputable person - a good fish market, some place that gets stuff fresh daily. I wouldn't buy them in supermarkets. You can buy frozen clams already shucked and stuff like that. Just know you're going to lose some flavor and some texture out of those. They tend to get a little rubbery. Whereas when they're really fresh, they almost just dissolve in your mouth. It's really really good stuff.

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