Enjoy a Traditional Steamer Clam Recipe From Cape Cod

Now is the time to take the party outdoors and enjoy a traditional steamer clam recipe from Cape Cod.

The Maine lobster clambake with freshly harvested steamer clams is one of those wonderful summertime dinners that locals enjoy up and down the New England coast. But for many people, a basket of freshly cooked steamers can be a fabulous dock-side lunch or dinner all by themselves.

The steamer is a soft shell clam known by many names. Steamers can be called the Ipswich clam, the long neck clam, the belly clam, the fried clam and other not so flattering terms. The shell is soft enough to break with your fingers. Steamers are readily identified because the long neck, or snout, stick out of the shell. They are harvested from saltwater sandbars and saltwater mud flats. The clams live in the sand just below the surface and are famous for “squirting” water when people walk by, making them easy to find.

Freshly cooked steamer clams on a plate
Fresh soft shell steamer clams

The best soft shell clams are still harvested by hand and are usually available year round, except when the flats freeze. They are sold daily to markets and stored in mesh bags in large, airy coolers. Although easy to prepare, it is important to follow some basic steps.

Ipswich Steamer Clams Recipe Popular in Boston and Cape Cod

Traditional soft shell steamer clam recipe serving two to four people

Cleaning the Clams:

At least one hour before cooking, place the clams in a clean sink (no soap or other residue) and just cover the clams with cold water. Add two drops of white vinegar to the water to help the clams expel any sand they have in their shells. Stir the clams gently and let soak for 10 minutes. Drain the sink flushing any sand residue. This time without vinegar, cover the clams with cold water again, gently stir, and let soak for five minutes. Drain. Discard any clams with broken shells.

Popular style steamer kettle for lobster and clams
Traditional kettle for steaming clams

Ingredients:

White vinegar
Four pounds of freshly dug steamer clams
2 large stalks of fresh celery
2 medium yellow onions
1 stick salted butter
1 fresh lemon

Steamer Clam Preparation:

Clean steamer clams with white vinegar as described
Cut celery stalks into two inch pieces
Cut onions into two inch quarters
Cut lemon into ¼ size wedges
Melt butter and place in ramekins
Add water to large steaming kettle or lobster pot 1/4th of the way up

Cooking Steamers:

Bring to roiling boil
Place steamers, onions and celery into pot at the same time and cover
Gently stir clams twice
Cook for 12 minutes until the clam shells open (do not overcook)

Serving:

Drain broth from the kettle into ramekins.
Squeeze lemon wedges into melted butter
Remove clams from kettle and discard any unopened shells
Serve immediately

Note: Dip to wash clam in broth and then use the fingers to remove the membrane covering the neck. Most people will eat the entire clam, while some leave the neck. Dip clam in the melted butter and enjoy.  As an aside, don’t forget that day boat scallops are now in season and can be ordered for home delivery.

Recipe courtesy Aimee C. Nichols, private chef.

© Wayne Howe 2019

 

 

New England Folks Love Their Lobster Wherever They Live

Feb. 25, 2013 — Lobsters-Online starts the New Year with a deep breath as the prior Christmas and New Year holiday period is our busiest time of the year for shipping live lobster.  During the six-week holiday period folks from all over the country use the lobster shipping service to order New England seafood for their dinner celebrations. From Michigan to Florida, Georgia to California, the orders were shipped to families in every state in the country.

Just wanted to send a note of appreciation as we close out 2011 with another great lobster, shellfish, seafood dinner. — Don P., Parker Colorado

Many Lobsters-Online customers are what we affectionately term ex-patriots, or more narrowly, former residents of New England.  And while they have left the Northeast and have ended up living in various places, all these people have one thing in common. They miss their Maine lobster, shellfish and other New England seafood treats.

Jumbo lobster on dinner plate
Maine Lobster Dinner

Lobsters-Online always enjoys when we hear back from our former New England natives.  Today seemed like a good time to share a few of their much appreciated comments:

“I recently ordered two 5 lb lobsters for my husbands 65th birthday.  I have to tell you that he was very surprised and they were absolutely excellent.  We are both from Connecticut and now live in Florida.  Floridians have no idea what real lobster is until they try Maine lobster.  You gave us not only a wonderful meal but brought back memories of New England.  I have put your name on Facebook to all my friends so you will be getting more orders.  Thank you so much.  And Happy New Year.” – Maxine D,Spring Hill Florida. 

“Just wanted to send a note of appreciation as we close out another great
lobster, shellfish, seafood dinner. This is either our third or fourth order in just
this past year and your products and services are consistently excellent. My
wife is a native New England “coastie” and these meals go a long way toward keeping
the beatings (on me)  to a minimum for my dragging her to Colorado. Have a great New Year.” —  Don P., Colorado 

“Just a note to thank you again for taking such great care with my order this past Christmas season. I have been sending a gift to my parents for several years from your company.  However, this year they were absolutely thrilled as I sent them live lobster, and your New England lobster chowder. Thank you for taking such good care … start to finish. It is so nice to know that you continue to do an incredible job.” — Steve L., Tampa Bay, Florida 

“This is our third year ordering from your service.  This year we ordered the jumbo lobster tails for Christmas Eve dinner along with your chowders.  The tails were big, fresh and delicious.  We baked and stuffed them with crab following my mother’s recipe.  She is from Maine, and knows good lobster when she sees it.  A good time was had by all.  Thank you again for your service.”  — Annette P., Punta Gorda, Florida. 

 

© Wayne Howe 2013

 

 

Winter and When Will it End for Lobster Lovers?

 

Off season, winter keeps the lobster boats close to home, and only the biggest lobster suppliers can be prepared to make sure there is plenty of lobster available all winter. The Lobster Trap Company works hard year round to continue to be able to supply ocean fresh lobster to customers.

 

What does all that snow mean for lobster lovers?
They do this by building natural environment environment salt water lobster pounds that can hold millions of pounds of fresh lobster.  This keeps the lobster strong and healthy until they are ready to make their trip to the folks.
“We filled our Maine and Canadian pounds with enough lobster to keep filling the FEDEX planes thru the rain, sleet and snow of this year’s terrible winter, just to make sure our customers stay full – and get their fill — of their favorite crustaceans!”  Said Dave Madden, Lobster Trap Company vice president of sales.
Lobster Trap operates four lobster pounds located in Machiasport and Steuben Maine, providing access to 4,000,000 pounds of live lobster.   The company also operates storage facilities throughout Canada providing holding capacities in excess of 2,000,000 pounds.  All this means great lobster eating year round, even when the fishing season ends.

So while the snow may be falling, the lobster keeps flying.

© Wayne Howe 2013