Steamer Clams

  • 8 dozen steamer clams, (allow 2 dozen per person as a main course)
  • 6 quarts boiling water in large pot
  • 1 Tbsp. dried tarragon
  • 1 Tbsp. dried summer savory
  • 1 Tbsp. dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 Tsp. cayenne pepper or chili flakes
  • 1 Tbsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 Tsp. salt
  • 4 lemons, quartered
  • 1 lb. cooked pasta as a base
  • chopped parsley as garnish
  • 1/2 lb. butter, melted

If you purchase steamer clams at the market, they have most likely been "cleaned." That is, the algae they feed on has been replaced by corn meal or a similar food product in holding tanks. This process assures that sand and other substances are not in the product being sold. Do not purchase any clams that are opened.

If you harvest your own clams, you will need to process them yourself. To do this, simply place them in a bucket of clean water and add some corn meal to the water. Let them sit for about 12 hours and they will have filtered all the algae from their systems.

To prepare steamers, bring the water to a boil and add the seasonings to the pot. Also add the juice of 2 lemons and add the lemon rinds to the pot. Add the clams to the pot and allow the water to come back to a boil. Then turn off the heat. Within about 5 minutes the clams should open and are ready to eat. Discard any clams that do not open as they were probably dead before cooking.

Drain the pot into a colander and arrange the clams over a bed of pasta. Sprinkle the chopped parsley as a garnish and drizzle half of the butter on top. Serve the remaining butter for dipping and lemon wedges for individual plates.

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