Clam flat

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I will never forget the first time I went clamming. It was a beautiful summer day and I was staying with friends who lived right on the edge of a clam flat. They invited me to dig for my supper. I thought it would be great fun, plus how hard could it be to toss on a pair of boots and dig a few clams?

It didn’t take me long to realize that there’s not only a knack to digging, there’s also a knack to slogging through mud. Both feet got stuck and down I went on my rear end – covered in mud and feeling beyond ridiculous. My friends had a good laugh as they pulled me out like they were playing a game of Tug 0f War. No cell phones back then, so sorry grateful, but no pictures to share.

You won’t have to do any clam digging for the recipes we have for you unless, of course, you want to. The recipes are compliments of Bar Harbor Foods in Whiting, Maine.

They sell a wide variety of canned and bottled seafood products from chowders and bisques to seafood juices to lobster meat, mussels and, yes, clams. The recipes they shared feature ingredients from their product line.

They also shared a few clam tips.

How do you know when a clam is fully cooked? 

Seafood is fragile and the worst thing you can do is overcook it. A fresh, live, clam once steamed or cooked is safe for consumption once the shell pops open, which takes about 10-15 minutes, depending on size. As a general safety rule, clams from shells that don’t open when cooked are usually dead and should not be eaten.

Could you give us a short primer on the different kinds of clams?

There are many species of clams worldwide. We use sea (surf) and ocean (large quahog) and cherrystone/mahogany (small quahog) clams for our products.

The kind of clams I was attempting to dig were soft shell clams aka steamers, which are found in mud, sand, and gravel intertidal areas from Labrador to North Carolina. You can get more information about the kinds of clams we have here in Maine from the Maine Clammers Association.

Is there anything that people always ask about your clams? 

The most frequent question we get about canned clams is whether they are cooked and ready to eat. The answer is yes. All canned food, including canned seafood, is fully cooked and is safe to consume or add to recipes, straight from the can.

Downeast Clam Dip

Clam dip

Source: Bar Harbor Foods

A welcome break from onion dip, serve this fantastic dip with pita chips, celery or our favorite, pumpernickel pretzel sticks.

Serves: 10
Active time: 20 minutes
Total time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 (6.5 ounce) cans Bar Harbor® Chopped Clams
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 2 Tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 Tablespoon bottled horseradish
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce, more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 3 scallions, chopped fine

Directions

  1. Drain the clams reserving 2 Tablespoons of clam juice. Set aside.
  2. Blend the cream cheese in a mixer or by hand until smooth.
  3. Add the sour cream, horseradish, lemon juice, Worcestershire, Tabasco, black pepper, salt and reserved clam juice. Mix until well blended.
  4. Add the drained clams, red bell pepper and scallions. Mix well.
  5. Dip can be made a day ahead of time, covered and refrigerated until needed.

Clam & Kale Soup

Clam and Kale Soup

Source: Bar Harbor Foods

Anyone of Portuguese heritage will recognize this classic combination of kale, linguica and clams. Anyone trying to get more leafy greens and veggies into their diet will love this tasty soup. Serve with a nice loaf of crusty bread.

Serves: 4
Active time: 45 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 pound linguica sausage, quartered lengthwise, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1-1/2 cups finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped carrot
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • pinch crushed red pepper
  • 2-1/2 cups chopped fresh kale (discard stems)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 (8 ounce) Bar Harbor® Clam Juice
  • 3 (6.5 ounce) cans Bar Harbor® Whole Maine Cherrystone Clams
  • 2 Tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley

Directions

  1. Add oil to a soup pot over medium heat. When hot, add the linguica. Cook and stir until the linguica starts to brown, about 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add the onion, celery, carrot, garlic, thyme, black pepper and red pepper. Cook and stir until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 – 6 minutes.
  3. Add the kale, cook and stir to coat with the seasonings. Add the water and clam juice, stir well and cover. Cook for 10 minutes.
  4. Add clams, cilantro and parsley. Stir and cook to heat through, about 5 – 6 minutes.
  5. To serve, divide soup between 4 bowls. Any leftover soup can be refrigerated for two days or frozen up to 3 months.

You’ll find more recipes here.

How do you like to eat clams? Steamed? Fried? Raw? In dips, sauces, soups, paella or something else?