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Home Cooking

Clamicide (or, how to store bivalves without killing them)

alanbarnes | Jul 23, 200709:15 PM     5

Bought a couple dozen manila clams at the farmer's market yesterday. Brought them straight home (15 minutes), put them in a container surrounded by a damp tea towel, and stuck the whole mess on the bottom shelf of the fridge. Had a surprise dinner guest whose dietary restrictions exclude shellfish, so the clams had to wait overnight.

Tonight's menu was to be linguine con vongole. Got the clams out of the fridge and immediately noticed that at least half of them were open. Too cold, maybe? Let them warm up for a few minutes. Flicked 'em, squeezed 'em, tapped 'em on the counter. They still stayed open. A cool water rinse, maybe? No change.

Had linguine con aglia e olio for dinner. Now there are a couple of dozen Manila clams in the freezer, but only because the neighbors wouldn't appreciate them going into the garbage tonight when the forecast highs for the next few days are around 100.

So did I do something wrong, or is it the clams? The Point Reyes oysters from the same vendor seem to be okay, but they're going to get barbequed tomorrow [as opposed to eaten on the half shell] unless I very rapidly develop a higher level of confidence in my bivalve storage skills...

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