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Fresh, live Atlantic surf clams are available year-round. Look for clams that have tightly closed shells or ones that close immediately when tapped. Avoid those that are open or have broken or damaged shells. Choose clams that feel heavy for their size.
Fresh clams should have a clean and slightly salty ocean smell. Avoid clams that have a strong, foul odor, as this indicates spoilage.
They are also sold processed and frozen, and canned.
Its raw meat is whitish-orange; however, cooked meat appears whitish-yellow. When cooked, the meat is mild and sweet and chewy.
it is essential to store them properly. Keep them refrigerated at a temperature between 32°F and 45°F (0°C to 7°C) and use them as soon as possible for the best flavor and quality.
Preparation and serving methods
It is important you clean surf clams before use in cooking. Place the clams in a bowl of cold water and let them soak for 20-30 minutes. This helps to purge the clams of sand and grit.
Scrub the shells for removing external impurities. Then, with a knife, carefully open the clam by inserting the blade into the shell’s opening. Slide the knife along the inside of the top shell to separate the clam from the shell. Take care not to spill any liquid from inside the shell.
Rinse the opened clam again under cold water and use a soft brush to gently remove any inner impurities.
Here are some serving ideas:
Atlantic surf clams, also known as bar clams or hen clams, are versatile seafood options that can be used in various recipes. These clams are utilized in numerous recipes, including clam chowder, seafood stews, pasta dishes, sushi, ceviche, and more.
|Surf clam chowder. Photo: Jen
Prepare surf clam chowder using ingredients such as bacon, chopped onion, diced celery stalks, potatoes, milk and cream and seasoned with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot, garnished with the crispy bacon.
Surf clam linguine is a popular Italian pasta dish served traditionally with pesto sauce.
Serve the stuffed surf clams hot as an appetizer or side dish.
Serve the surf clam fritters warm with your choice of dipping sauce, such as tartar sauce, aioli, or a squeeze of lemon.
Eating raw or undercooked clams leads to vibrio bacteria (Vibrio vulnificus) infection that can cause gastrointestinal illness. Thorough cooking destroys these bacteria and makes them safe to consume. Discard any clams that do not open during cooking.
Shellfish including Atlantic surf clam is a common food allergy which may affect around 1% of the population. Most of these allergic manifestations are mild to moderate in severity, ranging from hives (urticaria), tingling of the throat and mouth, swelling (angioedema), and gastrointestinal (vomiting, diarrhea).
Clam has methyl-mercury levels of 0.009 Parts Per Million (PPM). According to the U.S. FDA guidelines for expectant and breastfeeding mothers, it is categorized into the “best choice”, allowing it to consume 2-3 servings per week. (Medical disclaimer).
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≺≺ Back to Seafood from Atlantic Surf clam nutrition facts and Health benefits.
Further reading (Links opens in new window):
NOAA-Fisheries –Spisula solidissima.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids: An Essential Contribution.
U.S. Food & Drug Administration- Mercury Levels in Commercial Fish and Shellfish.