How to Purge Manila Clams

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Manila clams can be purged in a very specific way. Learn how to purge manila clams with help from a celebrity chef who trained at the Culinary Institute of America in this free video clip.

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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Bryan from Trellis at the Heathman Hotel in Kirkland, Washington. We're here today to show you how to purge clams. So what I'm going to sue today are Manila clams. These are a medium and a small size Manila clams. We're going to take them. We're going to put them in ice water. The water is very cold, a little bit of cornmeal and a little bit of salt and we're going to allow them to sit in the cornmeal and salt for 20 minutes. You can put them back in the fridge while this is happening or put ice in to keep the water cold because we want to keep the shellfish very fresh. You can always tell when you're buying shellfish if it's open when you buy it and you squeeze the shell if it doesn't close, then the fish itself is not fresh. So you want to make sure that you're buying the freshest product you can. Don't be afraid to ask whoever is at the fish counter when it was harvested or when they brought it in and here I have a perfect example of one that we don't want to use, this shell is cracked. So any of your muscles or clams that are cracked you want to discard before we start cooking. Potentially they could even have an off flavor or even be filled with sand. The reason we're purging is to bring the sand out from the clams themselves. So I'm going to take our clams. I'm going to put them in the ice cold water. I'm going to put in a little salt, put in a little cornmeal and the cornmeal is just roughage. It's going to settle down there and if any of the clams open up and they bring this in, it's going to make them spit it back out. And if they spit it back out, then they're going to spit any sand out with it. So we're going to leave this sit in the ice cold water for 20 minutes and then we're ready to cook. Clams are really beautiful in clam chowder. Steamed clams and you can even eat clams with a little, when they pop open, you can then put a little relish on them and a little vinaigrette and eat them on the half shell. So I think we're going to let this sit and we're ready to cook. Bryan from Trellis at the Heathman Hotel in Kirkland, Washington.


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