I just spent a glorious long weekend on an island off the coast of Georgia. Aside from catching up with two good friends and drinking some fine wine, my favorite part of the trip was digging for clams and eating them for dinner. Tallk about eating fresh and eating local!
But clam digging is not for the faint of heart. We had to venture to several spots on the beach before we had any luck finding clams. Once we did, digging and raking with the pitchfork left me a bit winded! Plus, my feet were getting a bit warm in the tall rubber boots, but I was glad I had them on because you do have to stand in a little bit of mud to get the good clams.
Once we got our "catch" in the bucket and back to the house, we let them stand in the water for a while to filter out the dirt and sand. Then we scrubbed them some more. Then the hard part was over. Cooking them was easy. You just put some white wine, garlic and parsley sprigs in a Dutch oven and bring the liquid to a boil. You need enough wine to cover all the clams. Add the clams (and mussels, too, if you have them), and cook until the shells open. If any are not open, you have to discard those. Use tongs to remove the shells from the liquid and put the shells on a platter.
Just remove the meat from the shells, dip it in a little melted butter, and you'll be in heaven. You don't really need a recipe to steam clams and mussels if you're keeping it simple like this, but here's one that is pretty close to what we did: Steamed Clams or Mussels in Seasoned Broth .
More later about harvesting those mussels! I'm in withdrawal from my magical time on the coast and am going to cook some shellfish to feel better. Let me know if you have any favorite recipes for clams.