Posted by: Barbara Evanhoe | May 9, 2011

The Joy of Clams…

…is totally lost on me.

Prior to yesterday, the only dish I had ever eaten that contained clams was clam chowder.

My impression? I loved the creamy, flavorful broth and small bites of potatoes, but could not appreciate the chewy bits of clams that gave the dish its name.

Yet, since Cedar Key is the number one producer of hard-shelled clams in the United States, I figured this would be a good time to sample some real, fresh clams and give them a second chance.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, on Saturday we picked up a bag of middleneck clams, with the plan of cooking them for Mother’s Day dinner.

There were about 1oo clams in the bag ~ enough for two meals, and it was surprising how heavy that bag was!

After interviewing everyone in the campground to find out their personal favorite method of preparing clams, we decided that cooking them over coals on an open fire sounded good.

So, yesterday just before dinnertime, Keith fired up the coals and after washing half of the clams in fresh water, he set them on the grill.

It didn’t take long for them to begin to pop open, and as they popped, he scooped them into a pan to keep them warm.

Clams cooking over the open fire

He couldn’t resist taste-testing the first clam to open…

Keith sampling the first clam to open

The verdict? Undecided at this point.

While Keith was cooking outdoors, I sauteed fresh Vidalia onions and yellow squash for a nice little side dish, and melted some butter with garlic as a dipping sauce.

When all the clams were ready, we sat down to our meal.

The fresh squash and onions were fabulous, but we both found the clams to be chewy, though they tasted great with the butter sauce.

OK. So our first clam experience wasn’t the greatest. We still had 50 more clams in the fridge, so we decided to cook them up and make a white clam sauce to serve over linguini.

The rationale was that by chopping the clams up into tiny pieces we would get around that chewiness that neither one of us could appreciate.

So, today we made our way to the Market at Cedar Key to purchase the linguini and necessary ingredients for the white sauce.

Keith cooked the clams over the fire, and as they popped, I plucked them out of the shells.

Fifty clams made about a cup of minced clams.

At dinnertime, we prepared the pasta and then the sauce, which had as its base, two full sticks of butter ~ Paula Dean would be so proud!

I steamed a big batch of fresh green beans, and we sat down to dine.

We poured the sauce over the linguini and topped it with Parmesan Cheese. It smelled delicious. It tasted delicious.

BUT – even though the clams were diced into teeny tiny pieces, they were still chewy!

It didn’t stop us from enjoying our meal, but it did make us cross clams off of our favorite food list for good.

We will not rule out the possibility that we did something wrong in the cooking process, but our conclusion is that clams ~ though tasty ~ are simply chewy little tidbits, and if you like chewiness in your seafood, then you will love them.



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Responses

  1. Clams are always chewy.

    • That’s the part I don’t get – why would people want to eat something like that! I must be missing something.


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