I've been having lots of fun making japanese egg custards in little tea cups in a bamboo steamer. The recipe I've been basing it on (finally got the stock:egg ratio perfect!!!) is by Elizabeth Andoh in January's Gourmet, which called for a delectable shitake shrimp combo. I loved how much satisfaction I got from such small quantities of what are expensive ingredients. Now I want to try with clams and oysters (after I had amazing roasted, shucked oysters in broth at a Japanese restaurant, which I've only ever eaten raw before), since I only need one per teacup. But I'm not sure how to go about it.
Should I steam the clams so they open, discard the shell, then pop them in an egg custard mixture and steam for the usual 12 minutes? I assume you can steam oysters open too, but I've never tried this. Would steaming them open then cooking them in an egg custard for another 12 minutes make them too tough? I'm afraid of shucking clams and oysters raw; I think I'd probably sever a finger or two in the process.
One other idea is to put the oyster or clam in the shell in the custard, and then steam, but I'm worried that the oyster/clam shell opening in the custard half way through cooking would break the setting custard.
I suppose the best way is to try myself, but I'm a bit nervous with expensive ingredients. Has anyone done anything similar before? Any suggestions? Sorry this is so long and anguished!