How to Steam a Quahog

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You only need heat to prepare quahogs, whether it comes from a grill, broiler or boiling water. But steaming quahogs in cuisson, a flavorful liquid for cooking seafood, allows you to create instead of just prepare. Quahogs come in several varieties classified by size. Little necks and cherry stones are sweet and tender, whereas top necks and the namesake quahog varieties are meatier. Small varieties go best with light ingredients, such as white wine and leeks, whereas larger varieties can handle bold flavors, such as garlic and shallots.

Things You'll Need

  • Salt
  • Aromatic ingredients, such as garlic and shallots
  • Liquid, such as water, wine or beer
  • Herbs and spices
  • Pile the quahogs in a bucket or other container and cover them with a few inches of seawater. If you don't have sea water, mix 5 tablespoons of salt per gallon of water and pour it over them.

  • Purge the quahogs overnight in the saltwater. Drain the water and rinse the quahogs under cool running water right before you want to steam them. Toss any quahogs whose siphon, or "foot," doesn't retract into the shell when handled.

  • Saute aromatic ingredients in oil or butter in a pot. A little minced garlic, a shallot or two, a pinch of red pepper flakes or even a diced chili let you take the quahogs in your own direction.

  • Pour an inch or two of liquid in a pot, depending on how many clams you have. The liquid won't overpower the taste of the clams, it will just condense inside the shell, so feel free to use anything flavorful. White wine, red wine, stout beer, wheat beer, fish stock, fish fumet -- you get the idea -- are all fair game.

  • Add herbs and spices to the pot. Simply tear some fresh flat-leaf parsley, toss in a small bunch of coriander, or take your time and finely chop some fresh dill.

  • Stir everything together and bring it to a boil on the stove. Pile the quahogs in the pot and cover.

  • Steam the quahogs for five to seven minutes, or until all the shells open. Transfer the clams to a serving dish and pour the cuisson over them. Serve immediately.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you don't have time to purge the quahogs overnight, place them in a container and cover them with a few inches of water. Agitate the water with your hand for about a minute to get the clams riled up. Repeat a couple times, with fresh water each time, until the quahogs stop releasing grit and sand.

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References

  • Photo Credit Alexandra Grablewski/Digital Vision/Getty Images
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