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Video:How to Open Clams

with Rich Vellante, Legal Sea Foods

With their salty and sweet flavor, clams are a delicious addition to any meal. But how do you open them? Legal Sea Foods' executive chef shows you how to shuck a clam.See Transcript

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Transcript:How to Open Clams

Hello, I'm Rich Vellante, executive chef of Legal Sea Foods in Boston, Massachusetts, for About.com Food. Today I am going to show you how to shuck a littleneck clam.

Tools Needed to Open a Clam

What you need to start out with this is, obviously, you need clams that you can buy at your local fishmonger.

And really, the only other things you need depend on your preference. But first of all, you need a shucking knife for clams. And I am going to show it to you here as opposed to the oyster knife.

These can be purchased at any food equipment store like a William and Sonoma; they'll carry these. But you see the difference. This one is flat, and this is for the clams.

The only other thing you might want to consider purchasing, and one of the things those stores might have, is a glove. I do not personally need one to open clams, but I will use them when opening oysters.

Inspect Both Sides of the Clam

So let's start to open these. First of all, with these hard-shell clams, when you look at it from afar, you can see that here is one section that is very, very tight, and that's on this right-hand side.

But as you start moving over to the left-hand side, it separates just enough to get this flat knife into it.

Slide the Knife Into the Opening

What I've done is I've placed the knife over that area where it is open. Now I have supported it in the palm of my hand, and what I'll be doing is pushing and supporting it with the palm of my hands.

And see how I just made that incision? I got into the clam, and that is very, very important.

Run the Knife Along the Top of the Clam

Do not just go straight into it because the clam essentially is attached to the top of the shell and the bottom.

And it is connected at four points: four abductor muscles - two at the top and two at the bottom. So it is our goal here to run the knife along the top of the clam.

Twist Off the Top Part of the Clam

Now what I have done is I have opened it up. One of my goals also is, you will notice, that I have cupped it and I have tried to hold as much liquid in there as possible.

Because the liquor of the clam has that beautiful ocean flavor and that is really what is important.

I'll sever the muscle that connects the clam to the top. Now I'll just twist it. This is very easy. I just twist the top part off and now I can discard this.

Sever the Clam's Muscles

So now I have my clam, but it is not finished yet because it is stuck. If you can see closely here, there are two muscles that are holding it together.

What I need to do is just sever those two muscles. So there is the first one. And you can see the other one, pinkish in color on the other side, and I will sever that one as well. Now my clam is totally loose.

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