Manos? Steamers? Pissers? Soft shell white clams go by many names. Once prolific in the Chesapeake Bay, now they seem to come and go with little rhyme or reason. Last season they made a big comeback. Fingers crossed the trend continues. While my husband Mark primarily catches razor clams which are used as bait by local crabbers, he will sometimes stumble upon some of these beauties.
The most popular way to eat them around these parts is to steam them for about 15 minutes first. Save some of the water and use it to dredge the cooked clams into to help purge any remaining grit. Have a bowl of melted butter nearby (with or without Old Bay seasoning) and dip to your hearts content!
Others, including my friend Barbara Helish, create a spicy tomato-based broth and sauté the clams. This extra flavor makes them extra delicious! She cooked the one's in the photo as part of a fundraiser for our local Watermen's Association awhile back and I'm hoping to convince her to do it again at our farm sometime this Spring.
One of Mark's favorite ways to eat them is to shuck them and fry them. Next time he does, I'll show you how to do it! In the meantime, be on the lookout for these in local seafood markets. And if you've never had them before...give them a try!
Start with the basic streaming method and get a feel for what you like by trying the recipe below. And check back here for the date when Barbara Helish is here performing her culinary magic!