Sunday, September 09, 2007

how to open a clam

For many dishes that include clams, opening a clam without damaging the meat inside can be a difficult but it is a necessary process. By using a clam knife it is possible to successfully shell a clam.

1.Hold the knife in your right hand and the clam in your left hand, with the curled edge to the left. (If you are left-handed, you may need to reverse this position.) The knife should be held so that it's parallel to the clam shell opening.

2.Cut the knife into the clam, keeping the blade as close to the top of the shell as possible. Your right thumb should be used to press the clam into your left hand to keep it from slipping, while the blade is pushed in with the index and middle finger of your left hand. Perform this action over a bowl to catch the juices that may drip.

3.Continue pushing the knife into the clam as far as it will go and it will cut the muscle that is keeping the shells together.
4.Rotate the knife so that the blade wedges the shells open.

5.Insert your left index finger in the opening and then use the knife to cut further into the clam than you could before. This should help separate the muscles from the shells.
6.Pull the top shell up and twist it off.

7.Separate the clam from the shell by using a scooping motion with your knife along the rims to cut any remaining muscles. The clam should end up whole and floating in its own juices within the shell.
8.Empty the clam and juices into a clean bowl.
9.Repeat until you have the desired amount of shelled clams.

* Always hold the clam steady and parallel to the floor.
* To make the knife easier to slide between the two shells, one edge (which will face up) should be ground back to taper the edge gradually for 1/4 inch and the other edge (facing down) should be ground flat.
* For best results, do not wash the meat.
* It is easier to open a really cold clam so you can set them in the freezer for 20 minutes before opening

* There is only one type of knife that should be used. A clamming knife was made just for opening clams. It has a blunt or rounded point. It's length is the perfect size for clams that most people desire to eat. It's edge is not at all sharp, but similar to a butter knife. A clamming knife is much safer and can be readily purchased in the same seafood store where you buy your clams. They are cheap and easy to use. Never use a kitchen knife. The few dollars you may save are certainly not worth the cut tendon in your hand, should a sharp knife slip.
* If you are a beginner you may want to wear protective gloves, as it is easy for the knife to slip.
* Smell the clams you open to make sure they are fresh.
* To minimize health risks, all raw seafood should be kept refrigerated from the time of purchase to the time of consumption. They even should be served on a bed of crushed ice to help maintain a lower temperature.

things you'ii need
* A real clam knife
* A clean bowl to catch drippings

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