I'm afraid I don't have any photos, as the test results got eaten too quickly!
Playing with the ratios set out by the Jan 06 gourmet recipe for chawan mushi (savoury steamed Japanese egg custards), I attempted to make egg custards with clams. I experimented with steaming the clams first, removing from shell then slipping them into custard mixture and steaming, and putting whole, live, close-shelled clams into the ramekins and steaming in custard batter. We (me and testers) found that steaming first until barely open (took about 7 minutes in steamer), then sliding the clam out of its shell into the ramekins resulted in a more tender clam than steaming in the shell, in the custard (which required longer steaming). Some clams refused to open in the custard, and those that did either were slightly tough or their liqueur made the custard a bit runny in the middle.
I used the clam liqueur from those steamed outside of the custard; I put it in the broth (made from boiling shrimp tails in plain water for seven minutes), so it wasn't wasted and it contributed to the overall flavour without making the damn custard runny.
The flavour was good (I used more expensive, juicy littleneck clams), and worthy of further experimentation. I am considering investing in some oysters, although I have never had steamed oysters before.
The one point I would really stress is having low heat under the steamer. The water in mine started boiling too vigorously, and ruined the smooth texture of my custards.
I really like this dish, and will make it again soon; it's sophisticated yet simple, and a great way to highlight expensive ingredients like shitake mushrooms and shrimp and clams, without having to buy a whole lot of them!
Thanks for the emotional and culinary support, all.
Original Gourmet (Elizabeth Andoh) ratios for egg custards:
3 beaten eggs:1/2C liquid (dashi/stock/etc)
Seasoned with 1 1/4tsp mirin, 1 tsp soy,
filling: 1 finely sliced scallion, 3 deveined, shelled prawns and 3 finely sliced shitakes.
Combine liquids and eggs; pour over ingredients in six small cups/ramekins, cover in tin foil, steam for 11-13 minutes over very low heat until set.