Steamed Clams

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WVHillbilly
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2006/05/02 10:31:48 (permalink)

Steamed Clams

Todays review of Lenny's made my mouth water.
A big pot full of cherrystones and the broth that accumulates on the bottom with a little butter and lemon. Now those are what I call "steamed clams!"
They're really good and done to perfection when the membrane is still intact and holds a big pouch of hot sea juice.
#1

21 Replies Related Threads

    Michael Hoffman
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    RE: Steamed Clams 2006/05/02 11:05:08 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by WVHillbilly

    Todays review of Lenny's made my mouth water.
    A big pot full of cherrystones and the broth that accumulates on the bottom with a little butter and lemon. Now those are what I call "steamed clams!"
    They're really good and done to perfection when the membrane is still intact and holds a big pouch of hot sea juice.

    I call that a waste of good raw clams. For steamers I want softshell (Mya arenaria) clams, not cherrystones, which are medium-size quahogs.
    #2
    renfrew
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    RE: Steamed Clams 2006/05/02 11:16:07 (permalink)
    quote:

    I call that a waste of good raw clams. For steamers I want softshell (Mya arenaria) clams, not cherrystones, which are medium-size quahogs.


    Agree wholeheartedly. There is a reason they call softshells "steamers" after all. On the flip side of that is when they serve me raw littlenecks. I think that is a perfectly good waste of my time!

    Give me the ugliest, fattest cherrystones you have! Now those are raw clams.

    #3
    Michael Hoffman
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    RE: Steamed Clams 2006/05/02 12:03:27 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Parses6

    quote:
    Originally posted by Michael Hoffman

    quote:
    Originally posted by WVHillbilly

    Todays review of Lenny's made my mouth water.
    A big pot full of cherrystones and the broth that accumulates on the bottom with a little butter and lemon. Now those are what I call "steamed clams!"
    They're really good and done to perfection when the membrane is still intact and holds a big pouch of hot sea juice.

    I call that a waste of good raw clams. For steamers I want softshell (Mya arenaria) clams, not cherrystones, which are medium-size quahogs.

    cherrystones ARE "steamed clams" and you are right WV the broth is to die for. Mopping it up with crusty bread is divine. Softshell clams don't sound very tasty to me though.

    Perhaps where you live cherrystones are steamed (God forbid!). Where I come from you eat them raw or you make clams casino or clams oreganata with them. But for steamed clams you use steamer clams, which are softshell clams, also called pisser clams.
    #4
    renfrew
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    RE: Steamed Clams 2006/05/02 12:13:54 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Parses6

    cherrystones ARE "steamed clams" and you are right WV the broth is to die for. Mopping it up with crusty bread is divine. Softshell clams don't sound very tasty to me though.


    Softshells are not really soft like a softshell crab is soft. The shell is just much thinner than a cherrystone and thus deemed "softshell".

    As for it not sounding tasty, these are the the type of clams used for frying and the type of clam known most famously as Ipswich clams. They are extremely tasty.

    #5
    WVHillbilly
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    RE: Steamed Clams 2006/05/02 12:17:12 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Parses6


    cherrystones ARE "steamed clams" and you are right WV the broth is to die for. Mopping it up with crusty bread is divine. Softshell clams don't sound very tasty to me though.


    Yup, where I'm from we didn't eat "softshell" clams and looked upon them the same way we looked upon mussels. . . not for human consumption.
    Raw clams were usually anything smaller than what is called "cherrystone" today. The big "cherrystones" were for steaming and chowder (Manhattan style).
    When I was a kid I loved to drink the broth. . . mine and everyone else's, but the majority of it was hoarded in the kitchen to add to the chowDER.
    BTW: Heaping piles of spice, herbs, other meats, cheese etc on clams was not allowed. We were semi-poor and when we got clams, we wanted to enjoy every clam moment unencumbered.
    #6
    Tony Bad
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    RE: Steamed Clams 2006/05/02 12:26:14 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by renfrew

    Agree wholeheartedly. There is a reason they call softshells "steamers" after all. On the flip side of that is when they serve me raw littlenecks. I think that is a perfectly good waste of my time!

    Give me the ugliest, fattest cherrystones you have! Now those are raw clams.




    Littlenecks are the usual choice for raw/on the halfshell clams because they are the smallest size that can be kept...and will be the most tender. Some folks say they even taste sweet, although I don't see that.

    Some of the clams that cull out as cherrystones are getting a bit large and may be too tough to eat raw...and are often steamed. Around where I come from, there are few softshell clams so we steam what we have, and "steamed clams" means steamed hard shells clams. I always find it funny when I travel around the country and see how clams are sold as littlenecks or cherrystones when they are actually GIGANTIC chowder clams. I know why they do this though...when I was out out digging clams for a living (paid for college that way!) a count (500) of little necks or cherrystones would get me $50-$100 depending on season, where a bag of chowder clams would get me about $5 or $10.
    #7
    renfrew
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    RE: Steamed Clams 2006/05/02 14:32:49 (permalink)
    I dont see the sweetness in littlenecks either.

    I am lucky. In Rhode Island, a cherrystone is a cherrystone. Anything bigger and its a Quahog.and only good for chowder or chopped up as a stuffie. Littlenecks? Meh. I dont look down on them, just dont bother with them raw. Cooked in italian pasta dishes is the way I eat them mostly.

    How anyone can look down on softshell clams is beyond me. But I realize I am a product of my region.
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    Michael Hoffman
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    RE: Steamed Clams 2006/05/02 14:45:29 (permalink)
    I'm from Connecticut and cherrystones were always the raw clam of choice, and they're also used for other purposes, such as casino and oreganata. Littlenecks are fine for eating raw, as well as for use in pasta sauces, casino and oreganata. All other quahogs? Chopped up and used in chowder, stuffed clams and sauces. Steamers? Only softshells will do. Fried? Only softshells will do.
    #9
    WVHillbilly
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    RE: Steamed Clams 2006/05/02 14:55:00 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by renfrew

    I dont see the sweetness in littlenecks either.

    I am lucky. In Rhode Island, a cherrystone is a cherrystone. Anything bigger and its a Quahog.and only good for chowder or chopped up as a stuffie. Littlenecks? Meh. I dont look down on them, just dont bother with them raw. Cooked in italian pasta dishes is the way I eat them mostly.

    How anyone can look down on softshell clams is beyond me. But I realize I am a product of my region.


    Renfrew, The early NE'ers looked down on lobster. I've actually eaten mussels and enjoyed them. . . took some convincing to get me to try them back when I was a younger man, but they're not bad. Like you said about pasta dishes, I like them in a good Italian place cooked in a garlic sauce with pasta. Oh, and fried softshells are pretty good too.
    #10
    Twinwillow
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    RE: Steamed Clams 2006/05/02 16:34:02 (permalink)
    Well, living in Dallas does have one big drawback. NO CLAMS!
    Sure, we can get em at some of the "gourmet" markets but, I could buy a dozen back east for what one or two eastern clams cost here. That a lot of "clams." And the restaurants? All they serve are those tiny brown Manila clams. Useless!
    When I went back to NY for a wedding a few years ago, We made a point of going to that clam bar in Oceanside on the road to Long Beach-forgot the name but,
    you New Yorkers will know the place. Anyway, I downed 4 DOZEN littlenecks!
    I was like a guy coming in off the desert and given a gallon of water to drink.
    You get the picture?
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    Tony Bad
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    RE: Steamed Clams 2006/05/02 16:48:07 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by twinwillow

    When I went back to NY for a wedding a few years ago, We made a point of going to that clam bar in Oceanside on the road to Long Beach-forgot the name but,
    you New Yorkers will know the place. Anyway, I downed 4 DOZEN littlenecks!
    I was like a guy coming in off the desert and given a gallon of water to drink.
    You get the picture?


    Are you writing about Peter's Clam Bar? I haven't been there in years...not even sure if it is still there.
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    Twinwillow
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    RE: Steamed Clams 2006/05/02 18:02:00 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Tony Bad

    quote:
    Originally posted by twinwillow

    When I went back to NY for a wedding a few years ago, We made a point of going to that clam bar in Oceanside on the road to Long Beach-forgot the name but,
    you New Yorkers will know the place. Anyway, I downed 4 DOZEN littlenecks!
    I was like a guy coming in off the desert and given a gallon of water to drink.
    You get the picture?


    Are you writing about Peter's Clam Bar? I haven't been there in years...not even sure if it is still there.

    Yeah, I think thats the place. On the causway to Long Beach? Used to go there very often growing up in the Five Towns 50's - 60's.
    There is a "canal" out back. Sound right?
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    seafarer john
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    RE: Steamed Clams 2006/05/03 09:37:03 (permalink)
    Years ago there was a very large very busy bar, with sawdust and clamshells all over the floor, located near the exit from the Hudson Tubes in Jersey City.
    One of the attractions of the place was a huge urn of hot clam broth at one end of the bar- free for anyone to help themselves- it was delicious.

    Also, a joint listed on these forums, "The Place" (once know as "Whiteys") in, I think, Branford, CT, roasts hardshell (littleneck or cherrystone) clams over open oak fires. Those clams are a delight worth making a very long detour to enjoy.

    Cheers, John
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    Michael Hoffman
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    RE: Steamed Clams 2006/05/03 10:14:29 (permalink)
    It's in Guilford, right on the Post Road.
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    Twinwillow
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    RE: Steamed Clams 2006/05/03 10:15:01 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by seafarer john

    Years ago there was a very large very busy bar, with sawdust and clamshells all over the floor, located near the exit from the Hudson Tubes in Jersey City.
    One of the attractions of the place was a huge urn of hot clam broth at one end of the bar- free for anyone to help themselves- it was delicious.

    Also, a joint listed on these forums, "The Place" (once know as "Whiteys") in, I think, Branford, CT, roasts hardshell (littleneck or cherrystone) clams over open oak fires. Those clams are a delight worth making a very long detour to enjoy.

    Cheers, John


    The place you described is a restaurant in Hoboken I think. Same set up. Sit down restaurant on one side and a Bar in another section with sawdust on the floor. You put the empty (soft) shells in a big bucket on the bar. Went there over 40 years ago. it's the town that Frank Sinatra was from in N.J. Great place for softshell clams. I also remember there being that urn of (free) hot clam broth. Nope! I remember now. You threw the empty shells ON the floor.
    C'mon you older N.J. guys...... You know the place.
    #16
    renfrew
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    RE: Steamed Clams 2006/05/03 10:19:38 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by WVHillbilly

    Renfrew, The early NE'ers looked down on lobster. I've actually eaten mussels and enjoyed them. . . took some convincing to get me to try them back when I was a younger man, but they're not bad. Like you said about pasta dishes, I like them in a good Italian place cooked in a garlic sauce with pasta. Oh, and fried softshells are pretty good too.


    Yes they did, served to the slaves and even they started hating it! Like I said, I am a product of my region. I have eaten steamed cherrystones and would never pass up an opportunity to do so. Of course if I was there early enough to stop them from going into the pot I would!
    #17
    Ashphalt
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    RE: Steamed Clams 2006/05/03 11:12:49 (permalink)
    I always heard that on Cape Cod lobsters were pig slop. Sometimes at low tide in Provincetown they'd let the pigs loose on the flats to clean them out. Also heard that it was one of the 19th Century NY moguls (maybe Jim Brady?) who put lobster on the map. Maybe legends?
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    seafarer john
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    RE: Steamed Clams 2006/05/03 16:43:32 (permalink)
    twinwillow: I think you are correct. It is probably Hoboken, because I was on several ships that went into drydock there and spent quite a lot of time in bars and restaurants along that main drag - cant remember the name of the street, but it was an easy walk from the shipyard. There was a place in Journal Square for seafood - but I'm pretty sure now it wasn't tha place i referred to in my previous messge.

    Cheers, John
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    Twinwillow
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    RE: Steamed Clams 2006/05/03 17:29:41 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by seafarer john

    twinwillow: I think you are correct. It is probably Hoboken, because I was on several ships that went into drydock there and spent quite a lot of time in bars and restaurants along that main drag - cant remember the name of the street, but it was an easy walk from the shipyard. There was a place in Journal Square for seafood - but I'm pretty sure now it wasn't tha place i referred to in my previous messge.

    Cheers, John

    Hi John. Yup! I think it was HOBOKEN for sure! I was last there about Late fifties-early 60's. I remember that they made a big "fuss" about Sinatra because he was from HOBOKEN and ate there as well! I remember how wild we thought it was to eat the softshells and then throw the empty shells on the sawdusted floor.
    The specialty of the house WAS the SOFTSHELL CLAMS.
    #20
    mayor al
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    RE: Steamed Clams 2006/05/03 17:33:36 (permalink)

    I do Love Steamed Clams (and Raw Clams too). But Steamers by the dozen with a cup of butter to dip them in makes me a happy Clammer!
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    Twinwillow
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    RE: Steamed Clams 2006/05/03 17:34:48 (permalink)
    Gawd! I sure miss them little critters.
    #22
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