Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Steamy? Steam Steamers (Or, What a Pisser!)

It could be worse; I had to restrain myself from making puns on clammy.  So, in the misty midst of this miserable summer, I turn to food that requires minimal time and attention, like steamers, also known as soft shell, Ipswich, or pisser clams.  (Note to the squeamish--I have friends who make gagging faces when I order these clams at a beachside joint.  I will never understand people like that, and I hope you are not among them.)
   I buy a pound and a half for an appetizer for two people .  Toss them (the clams, not the people) into a large pot of cold water--actually, getting tossed in a pot of cold water sounds pretty good right now.  Change the water if it starts to look murky after 20 to 30 minutes.  Rinse the pot, fill with about 1/2 inch of water.  Add the clams, bring to simmer over high heat.  Slam the lid on, lower heat. Cook until the clams have opened, 4 minutes, give or take.  If any are unopened, give them an additional 30 seconds, then discard any that have still not opened. While the clams are cooking, melt some butter in a bowl.  Add a squeeze of lemon if you'd like.
  Put clams in a large serving bowl.  Pour the cooking water into yet another bowl, carefully, as though you were decanting wine.   You don't want the sandy dregs in the bowl.
   Pull clam from shell; remove black athletic sock from dangly bit, aka the pisser.  Holding clam by pisser, dunk in broth, then butter.  If the clam is small, pop the whole thing in your mouth.  If the clam is large, the pisser is apt to be chewy, and thus should be discarded.
   Serve on their own as an appetizer, or with the usual summer bounty of corn, new potatoes and the like for a full meal.


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Anonymous said...

i without a doubt enjoy your own writing way, very remarkable.
don't give up and keep posting considering it simply just that is worth to follow it,
looking forward to look into more and more of your current well written articles, have a good one :)

Barbara Hanson said...

Thanks so much, Anon! Please keep reading; there is a lot more--and better--in the months following the steamers, all the way up to this week!

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I'm a ninth-generation Brooklyn native living in Manhattan.