For a seafood lover, there is too little time to try out all types of seal food cooked in various ways. From scallops to saltwater fish, seafood brings an exotic taste to your pallet. Clams are no different. Although it is regularly compared with scallops, oysters, etc, clams have their own taste and texture that can be your next favorite dish.
If you have had other sea creatures of the same species like oysters and liked it, you will find the taste of clams pretty familiar. But if you haven't had any before, there awaits a wonderful world that you need to explore.
For those who have little to no experience with seafood tasting, clams are salty-sweet, slightly slimy, and have tons of flavor. They can also be cooked in many ways for you to have a range of tasty delicious dishes to choose from. So why wait for more? Let’s have a descriptive tasting of clams!
What are Clams?
Clams are one of the most beautiful sea creatures. You must have seen the half-circle-shaped hard shells. Inside those, they have soft muscles. They are generally mollusks who use their burrowing feet to dig.
The hard surfaces that we see are used to protect their soft muscles and keep them protected. The tender muscles are what we eat. The muscles also help keep the shells together.
They use those to walk, move around, and dig into the soil. You will find clams in shallow water bodies mostly. But they are also found in oceans and rivers since they like sandy and muddy places where it is easier to dig and hide.
The size of clams can range from a few millimeters to four feet in diameter. The bigger ones are harder to find. They have some other very interesting features that will leave you fascinated.
What Do Clams Taste Like?
Another interesting fact about clams is that they taste different based on the season, their eating habits, and cooking style. The way to eat clams is that you will need to open the clams by cutting through the muscle or boiling them.
Then the muscle or soft portion you see inside is what they use for walking or eating. We eat the muscle at the center seasoned with spices. We will try to explain their taste and texture based on all the types.
Generally, they have both salty and sweet tastes. If we focus on the season, for now, they will taste sweeter because of their eating habits. Clams grown during this season tend to eat plankton and other sea plants. Clams will be saltier in the winter as they eat algae.
Although they belong to invertebrate species, there are different types of clams. Clams are also known to have a fishy flavor but that only makes them taste better. If you eat quahogs, they will have a bitter taste.
When eaten during the off-season, they will have a strong aroma and the taste will be more distinctive. Types like cherrystone and littlenecks have a strong flavor. They are also eaten raw because of that and their small size. Littlenecks also have more tender muscles while bigger clams don’t have that.
Cooked or Raw?
You can eat clams in both ways. However, it is important to note that, it’s better to cook them to avoid any kind of food poisoning or stomach problems. Especially since you will most probably be a beginner(since you are here!). While raw clams tend to have a strong aroma and flavor, cooked clams are also a big competitor.
Clams go well with seasoning and spices. They are usually eaten with citrus juice and hot sauce to add a bit of tanginess to their taste.
If you slightly cook them or boil them, they will lose the freshness a bit but will add chewiness and firmness. Overcooked clams will get rubbery. Some people use clam chowder to cook clams. You can get them here to cook clams by yourself.
There are different ways to cook clams that can affect the taste. Let's have a look-
This is the most common form of cooking clams. This way of cooking will enhance the salty oceanic flavor of clams without removing the freshness. It won’t be raw but it’s the closest to raw you can eat safely.
Therefore, most people prefer to taste boiled clams first when they are trying. To cook this way, try boiling the water with an adequate amount of salt until the water turns cloudy. When it does, add the clams. Wait for 3-4 minutes till it boiled. Then enjoy it with white wine!
Add butter to the pan and then cook minced garlic in it. Once the garlic’s scent is smelt add the clams and cover with a lid. Do not stack up the clams on top of each other. Then add the wine according to your taste. It helps open and cook the clams. Wait till the clams are opened. Once all of them are open, you can enjoy your meal!
Deep-fried clams will be more like fried seafood. It will have a fishy flavor along with a soft and tender texture.
First, you need to shuck the clams. Keeping them in the refrigerator might help with this. You can use the knife to scoop out the edible muscles from the center. Once you do that, you can now prepare the flour and spices to dip the raw muscles in it.
But first, you need to soak the clam muscle in milk, water, and salt. It will add some moisture and flavor to the clams. Then you dip it in the mixture of onion powder and flour. After that, take the muscles and deep fry them. Serve them warm with hot sauce.
Another way of cooking is pan-frying the clams. Just like the previous method you need to shuck the clam and get the muscle from the inside out. But this time, don’t put them in milk and water.
Instead, add butter to the pan. Then add the muscles to the pan and cook them. It will be like the sauteed vegetables you make. Add some seasoning and salt. Serve warm with citrus.
Who doesn’t like smoky seafood flavor? Especially on cold winter nights. Prepare the grill with medium heat. Now arrange the clams on the grill. Be careful cause they might fall through.
You need to arrange them vertically to the grill. Now cook the clams for 5-10 minutes until they open. Once open, you can serve them hot with coriander some seasoning, and of course hot sauce.
This is an unusual way of cooking clams but is the most flavorful way. First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Soak the clams in water and salt. Wait for the shells to open or at least loosen up.
While it gets all soaked up, you can prepare your stuffing. Mix cheese, coriander, seasoning, lemon zest, and olive oil in a bowl. Now stuff the clams with it. But don't open the shells all the way.
Put the on the baking sheet. Then bake for 10 minutes. When it’s all cooked, the shells will open! After all, if you are finding it hard to get rid of the sand in clams, you can watch this helpful video -
Clams are not only tasty but also nutritious. They are known as low-calorie and high-protein food. They have important nutrients like zinc, potassium, and B12 in them. So if you are worried about your health, you can go ahead with eating clams as they will add nutrients to your body.
In fact, according to a study, weekly consumption of clams decreases the risk of cardiac diseases in men. Just remember not to have them raw at least the first few times you try them.
As seafood carries a lot of germs with them, eating raw can be dangerous. Other than that, you can follow the cooking methods we added or you can look for more types of cooking. All in all, clams seem to be quite safe and healthy for everyone!