Grilled clams! Happy Birthday America!

A simple trip to Wegman’s this afternoon to get dog food, some corn on the cob for our dinner and cereal turned into a real treat for the family today. I have to hand it to Wegman’s, they know how to market their stuff!
In the front of the store was a big bin of corn on the cob (shipped in from Maryland and surprisingly good for being shipped!) I got my 8 ears and turned my cart to continue shopping when I saw it… the Littleneck Clams! A bag of 50 clams for $15.99. I did the mental math and knew that 2 bags would cost me a little over $30, and for my family of 5 it’d mean 20 clams apiece (give or take a few).
I showed restraint and walked past. I had a sirloin steak ready to grill for dinner, we didn’t need clams! But then I walked past the fish counter on my way to get the cereal, and there they were again, and this time I couldn’t pass them up! I stopped and talked to Don, the fishmonger, and he bagged up two mesh bags for me and off I went.
We would have clams AND steak! Surf and turf! Hey, it’s the birthday of America, this would be a great way to celebrate!!
Oh clams! Yummy, yummy clams! I was as happy as a kid in a candy shop!

My love affair with steamed clams began when I was a little kid going to the Webster Fireman’s Carnival every July. My folks would take my brother and I to the Firemen’s booth where they sold “steamers” and we’d eat them with drawn butter and desserts from the Lady’s Auxilliary. Our neighbor Mr. Ryan was a firefigher, and I always remember him being there while we sat at picnic tables eating clam after clam! It was a highlight of my summer!

I got these guys home and put them in my dishpan in the sink with cold water and plenty of Kosher salt. You have to clean them or you get a mouthful of sand and grit which is not pleasant, but a simple soaking for a few hours will work wonders! I have seen other folks recommend adding cornmeal to the water, but the salt water is how my mom always did it and I’ve had better luck with the salt so it’s how I always clean the clams.
I changed the water about 4 times in 2 hours, and with each change of water more grit washed away.
Tonight I decide that since I was cranking up the grill for the steak, I would just grill my clams. I’ve never done it before, but I will do it again! Just preheat the grill to 400º, pour the clams on the grate, close the top and wait about 8-10 minutes. Open the grill and….
This picture is of the last few on the grill, I just heaped all 100 clams on the grill at the beginning, but they all opened quickly so I was pulling them off at lightening speed! The neat thing about doing the clams on the grill was that I could see the clams open. It was sort of cool to see a tight little shell, crack open a bit and then like magic just open wide!
Another benefit… my house doesn’t smell like clams!
Here is the bounty~

Don't they look good!

Don't they look good!

And here is the first course of our July 4th dinner
What a treat!

What a treat!

They were delish!
And by the way… I forgot the dog food! I hate when that happens!


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