Steamed clams (here we mean bivalve clams) - the main means for steaming them is juice, which is liberated abundantly when heated. They can be prepared by simply placing the clams in a deep pan with a thick bottom, securing it and putting it on fire. However, the addition of a small amount of white wine, as well as herbs and, finally, chopped aromatic vegetables will turn the liquid into a fragrant broth that can be served with clams - in its original form or boiled during boiling, with the addition of pieces of butter and seasoned with lemon.
Bivalve mollusks become edible as soon as the flaps open wide, further processing will cause their meat to become dry and stiff. They should be steamed over high heat, vigorously shaking the pan so that all the mollusks get warm evenly. Before you start, you need to check if the mollusks are alive, if at least one inanimate is found in the pan, you will have to discard the whole dish. Steaming is both a complete shellfish cooking process and the first step in preparing more sophisticated and complex dishes.
The liquid can be added, for example, to veluté sauce or used as an additive to the fume for boiling fish, while the mollusks themselves can be served as a side dish. Steamed bivalves can be dipped in beaten dough and fried, or you can cook a casserole from them, covering it with a crust of breadcrumbs.
Steamed clams with a small amount of wine - a cooking method called a la meuniere - are demonstrated here using mussels and coastal snails. In essence, the procedure is the same for both species.
Special Clam Preparation
Since mollusks either cook very briefly or are eaten raw, they must be absolutely fresh. If you catch them yourself, consult your local fishermen or your local fishing community to see if the mollusk’s habitat is contaminated.
Most bivalves — for example, mussels, oysters, and heart-shaped ones — are sold alive, usually with closed cusps. If the flaps are open, tap on them, if they do not close, then, most likely, the clam is dead, such shells should be thrown away.
Single-winged mollusks, such as shore snails and trumpeters (or buccinum snails), are usually sold pre-packaged.
Since most mollusks live in sandy or silty areas of the ebb and flow line, they usually swallow sand and other small particles during feeding. Having brought the next catch home, scrape, holding the shells in the water, all the growths formed on them with a knife or a stiff brush, then place the clams in a pan with cold salted water. They will live for several more hours and themselves will throw out the sand and dirt remaining inside. Change the water as it gets dirty.
There are two main ways of opening bivalve mollusks and extracting their meat: manually opening the cusps, in which sometimes it is necessary to cut the muscle connecting the cusps of the mollusk, and heat treatment, in which the cusps open themselves. Oysters should always be opened manually (photo on the right), as during heat treatment their meat becomes stiff. Scallops can either be opened manually, or by placing them in the heated oven for several minutes, in any case after that you will have to separate the edible parts of the mollusk from the inedible ones (photo on the next page, top). Mussels are usually steamed in an open pan, which is part of their preparation, however, for some dishes, manually opening the mussels is required.
Shore snails and trumpeters are almost always steamed before cooking or boiled in boiling water until cooked. Their meat can then be pulled out using a hairpin or a small skewer.
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