adapted by There's Always Thyme to Cook

2 pounds of soft shell steamer clams
1/2 cup butter, melted
water for steaming

Place the steamers in a bucket or deep bowl and cover with several inches of salty water (a tablespoon of salt dissolved in every quart of water), and let sit several hours in a cool place, preferably overnight. This step is optional. But it will make the clams less sandy. The steamer clams will discharge sand while they are sitting in the water. You can change the water if you want. If you don't have time to let the clams soak for hours, just put several of them at a time in a large bowl, cover with water, and gently swirl the water around with your fingers for half a minute. Do this a couple of times or until no more sand is released. There will most likely be more sand and grit after cooking but you dip them in the steaming broth before you eat them to rinse it away.

When ready to cook, put about an inch of water (you can also use beer) in the bottom of a tall, large pot. Place a steamer rack at the bottom of the pot. Carefully place the clams on the steamer rack, pasta pot, or if you don't have either then just put the clams directly in the pot. The clam shells are on the thin side and can easily break, so be gentle as you put the steamers in the pot. If any of the clams seem dead, smell bad, or whose siphons don't retract a bit when you touch them, toss them out. Cover the pot. Bring the water to a boil. Let the clams cook in the steam from the boiling water for about 10 minutes, until the steamer clam shells are wide open, then remove the pot from the heat. Any steamers that don't open should be discarded. Let the clams cool for a couple minutes.

Remove the clams from the pot, checking for any that don't open, discard those. Place the clams in a serving bowl. Do not discard the clam broth Pour a bit of the hot broth into bowls for serving. Put the melted butter into small bowls for dipping.

Serve the steamers with a bowl for the clams, an empty bowl for the shells, a small bowl with the clam broth for dipping, and a smaller bowl with butter for dipping. The siphon end of the clam is great to use as a "handle" for dipping and though it's a little tough it is edible.