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Soft Shell (Ipswich) Clams

Soft Shell (Ipswich) Clams
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  • Soft Shell (Ipswich) Clams

    Post #1 - July 26th, 2019, 10:04 pm
    Post #1 - July 26th, 2019, 10:04 pm Post #1 - July 26th, 2019, 10:04 pm
    Lately I have been really craving soft shell clams for steamers and deep fried whole belly clams. Does anyone know of a source preferably retail or even places that serve them, I can never find them.
    Thanks
    Why does man kill? He kills for food. And not only food: frequently there must be a beverage.
    Woody Allen
  • Post #2 - July 27th, 2019, 3:36 am
    Post #2 - July 27th, 2019, 3:36 am Post #2 - July 27th, 2019, 3:36 am
    Dirk’s usually has them in the shell along with H-Mart in Niles.
    They are very delicate and don’t travel well live and most mail order places will not ship them live.
    Browne trading used to ship a 5# bag shucked and frozen for fried clams but I haven’t seen them listed lately.
    Both steamed and fried they are one of the world’s great clams!-Richard
  • Post #3 - July 27th, 2019, 5:23 am
    Post #3 - July 27th, 2019, 5:23 am Post #3 - July 27th, 2019, 5:23 am
    Have them up Maine every summer. My Greek cousin and I will routinely buy 5 lbs. down at the pier in the afternoon & put 'em in the fridge, then late at night we'll sit on the porch of the cottage, break out the Chopin (we've graduated from Absolut to Ketel to Goose to this) and the 'tavli' (backgammon) board.

    We'll wash them under cold water, maybe scrub the steamers if they're a little dirty, then simply throw 'em in a big pot with a half-can of beer, whatever's around, turn the heat on high. Put the top on a little askew, and melt a little butter separately. No more than 10 minutes later, they've opened up & ready.

    Drain them but save some clam broth. Open clam, pull off 'sleeve' & discard, wash in clam broth, swish in some butter & down the hatch. Discard shell. Repeat x 50.

    Those are our summer evenings. Steamers, vodka, backgammon, listening to the Red Sox on WEEI coming out of every cottage on the street. Below is not my pic, but it's accurate.
    ssteamers.jpg 'Steamers'
  • Post #4 - July 27th, 2019, 7:23 am
    Post #4 - July 27th, 2019, 7:23 am Post #4 - July 27th, 2019, 7:23 am
    When I think of steamer clams, I think of the larger clams with relatively thin shells with a much higher meat/shell ratio. long fat neck that pretty much always sticks out and needs to be peeled before eating. I always thought they are the soft shell, long neck clams. The ones in Jays picture are hard shell, little neck clams. they too are delicious but not what I think of as "steamers."

    -Will
  • Post #5 - July 27th, 2019, 1:36 pm
    Post #5 - July 27th, 2019, 1:36 pm Post #5 - July 27th, 2019, 1:36 pm
    WillG wrote:When I think of steamer clams, I think of the larger clams with relatively thin shells with a much higher meat/shell ratio. long fat neck that pretty much always sticks out and needs to be peeled before eating. I always thought they are the soft shell, long neck clams. The ones in Jays picture are hard shell, little neck clams. they too are delicious but not what I think of as "steamers."

    -Will

    Will you are correct those pictured are Hard Shells. The soft shells are oblong and have the long syphon sticking out the side. Totally different taste they are actually sweet. Took a road trip along the East Coast a couple of years ago. Buckets of Steamers at J's in Portland and fried whole bellies at the Clam Shack in Kennebunkport.
    Why does man kill? He kills for food. And not only food: frequently there must be a beverage.
    Woody Allen
  • Post #6 - July 27th, 2019, 4:40 pm
    Post #6 - July 27th, 2019, 4:40 pm Post #6 - July 27th, 2019, 4:40 pm
    As an aside, many years ago when on business near Newport News, stopped for dinner and ordered steamed clams as an appetizer, expecting soft shells.
    What a appeared were steamed cherrystones!
    Now don’t get me wrong but steamed cherrystones can be good or cooked other ways but they in no way compare to soft-shell clams steamed or fried.
    We use the Quahog, chopped for Pasta dishes.
    The Quahog is just a larger version of the Cherrystone or smaller Little Neck.
    This method of serving also appears in the Coastal Southern states in grilled oysters in the shell.
    If you order the ubiquitous ‘Fried Clams’ offered most places other than New England, what you get is clam strips from at best Razor clams and at worst, who knows what type of clam.
    Razor fresh in the shell, shucked, coated with corn starch and fried are very very good also.
    But the King of cooked are soft shell clams.
    -Richard
  • Post #7 - July 28th, 2019, 4:44 am
    Post #7 - July 28th, 2019, 4:44 am Post #7 - July 28th, 2019, 4:44 am
    Leave it to Will to catch my faux pas, the rat. He is correct--those are 'hahd' shell littlenecks.

    Rather than edit the original post, thus rendering Will's response moot, I offer the real McCoy, more uglier-looking but oh-so-tasty:
    steamers-3mbb.jpg 'Real' Steamers

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