Melissa Clark makes steamed clams with fresh tarragon and minced chives in this New York Times video. + How to cook clams in oil, garlic, white wine and parsley
Here are our tips to cook with clams:
How to clean clams
Rinse the clams in cold water, discarding any that are open. This will remove any grit and sand. Scrub the shells if they are dirty. (Some chefs place the clams in a bowl of porridge and cold water so the clams eat the porridge and look plumper to increase margin – we don’t recommend it!)
How to cook clams in oil, garlic, white wine and parsley
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan, add a clove of sliced garlic and fry for a minute until fragrant. Turn the heat up and add a glass of dry white wine. Add the cleaned clams, cover the pan and cook until the clam shells open (give the pan a little shake from time to time). It should take only a few minutes for the shells to open which means they are cooked. If any don’t open, discard them – and don’t eat them under any circumstances. Add a teaspoon of very finely chopped parsley and toss. Serve immediately. You can cook fresh mussels in the same way.
Why do you discard the clams that are open before cooking and discard the clams that are closed after you cook them?
Clams (or mussels) that are open before they have been cooked are dead and they could make you quite ill. When you cook closed clams, they open and the hot water cooks the shellfish inside, making them safe to eat. However, if the shells don’t open after being cooked in hot liquid, it means that the fish haven’t been cooked so they are unsafe to eat.