Cooking Butter Clams

cooking butter clams
    butter clams
  • (Butter Clam) A small, hard-shell clam native to the protected bays and estuaries of the Pacific Northwest. Canada is largest producer with Washington State‚Äôs Puget Sound second in importance. Most are caught wild, with a quarter farmed.
  • Food that has been prepared in a particular way
  • the act of preparing something (as food) by the application of heat; "cooking can be a great art"; "people are needed who have experience in cookery"; "he left the preparation of meals to his wife"
  • (cook) prepare a hot meal; "My husband doesn't cook"
  • The process of preparing food by heating it
  • The practice or skill of preparing food
  • (cook) someone who cooks food

Joy of Cooking, Recipe 40a-d: Clam Juice and the recommended variations
Joy of Cooking, Recipe 40a-d:  Clam Juice and the recommended variations
I took a break from the Joy of Cooking project while I thought about it. I decided that I would skip the recipes that were oriented toward feeding a crowd, since I have no crowd to feed (she has many recipes that feed 20-50 people). I decided to set a budget limit for the recipes of $15.00 per week, and if a recipe would cost more than $15.00, I would combine the budgets for multiple weeks and not make recipes every week if I had already used their budget. The basic idea for the recipe is clam juice with additions to make the sort of non-alcoholic vegetable cocktail they used to serve as a first course in the supper clubs of the Midwest. You would be served a relish tray of celery and carrot sticks, radishes cut like roses, and possibly some olives. There would be a bread basket with rolls and butter. Someone would offer you a cocktail from the bar or a vegetable juice, usually tomato. I can imagine this drink fitting in pretty well in that setting, long ago as it was. I made the recipe three times, but clam juice is sort of an opaque beige color and if you add two tablespoons of chili sauce to it, it turns pinky-beige that is not appealing. I am trying to imagine convincing guests to drink this. They would have to love me a lot. Maybe my parents. Nobody else, though. It says to sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper. Did that help? Would expensive crystal glasses help? No. I have some, and it didn't. By the third try, I had probably made something that Irma would recognize as her recipe. There was rich clam taste, bright lemon and a bit of heat. It was delicious. Just not pretty. So, clockwise from the bottom right, we have 40a which is the recipe in the book, Clam Juice. It is clam juice with a healthy dose of fresh lemon juice squeezed in (you can see a little lemon pulp in the picture), blended with chili sauce, celery salt, and grated onion (I add grated onion to lots of things now, thanks Irma!). Moving clockwise, 40b is half clam juice and half Irma's made-from-scratch tomato juice with a hit of horseradish. Upper left is 40c, half clam juice, half Irma's tomato juice and some Worchestershire sauce. Upper Right is 40d, half clam juice, half Irma's tomato juice, no additions. The first time I made this, I used wonderful clam juice from Alaska brought down for me by my folks, but wrecked it using canned tomato juice. The second time, I used bottled clam juice which was beige salt water and awful. The third time, I decided to make homemade tomato juice using Irma's wonderful amazing recipe (albeit with out of season tomatoes) and used clam juice as in clam juice from canned clams. Cost for the recipe as shown here: $14.00. The basic recipe (without homemade tomato juice) is $2.39 per serving (about one cup, as shown). The clam-tomato-horseradish version is $3.90 per serving. The clam-tomato-Worchestershire version is $3.91 per serving. The clam-tomato version is $3.80 per serving. Just as a note: Irma's recipe for homemade tomato juice, made in the dead of a Minnesota winter using tomatoes from Mexico and parsley and celery from California, onions from the Minnesota crop, was $11.31 for four cups of tomato juice. Not cheap, but still beats the tomato juice in a can.
Razor Clam Chowdah and Mixed Green Salad
Razor Clam Chowdah and Mixed Green Salad
Best Chowder... Eva. Now with Recipe: Chowdah! 3 strips pepper bacon 1 T butter 1 large yellow onion, chopped 5 stalks celery, chopped 2 T (about) flour 4 russet potatoes, peeled, chopped 3 bottles (3 c) clam juice (Cento was best brand, not Snow's) 2/3 bottle beer (we used Alaskan Summer Ale) 2 c half-and-half 1-2 t fresh thyme, chopped 1/2 c milk (we then later added the liquid from steaming 3 razor clams, 2 T butter, 1/4 bottle beer, 2 cloves garlic--1/3 c liquid?) Worcestershire sauce to taste salt and pepper t.t. 8-10 razor clams, cleaned, chopped Bacon bits for garnish Cook bacon in a large saucepan. Remove bacon when browned and just crisped. Add a bit of butter if necessary, then cook onion and celery in bacon drippings until translucent. Add flour and cook for 3 or 4 minutes. Then add clam juice and whisk to combine with flour. When liquid thickens a bit, add potatoes and 1/2 the bottle of beer. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add half-and-half, milk, and thyme; simmer for another 5 minutes. Season with s&p and Worcestershire to taste. When ready to serve, bring to a simmer, add clams and cook for about 2 minutes. Serve with bacon bits and just a touch of butter, with No-Knead-Bread (made with just a touch more salt than called for by Lahey) on the side. Yum!

cooking butter clams
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