All you need to know about Quahogs - also known as Littlenecks - and how to steam them to perfection!
If you are looking for a delicious seafood appetizer featuring clams, then these steamed Littlenecks are just the ticket!
While you may not be so familiar with the name Littleneck, you may have heard them referred to as Quahogs, Topnecks and Countnecks. Before we get to cooking, let’s talk a little about what Littlenecks are and other ways in which you can use them!
What are Littlenecks?
Littlenecks are small clams that are found in muddy and sandy areas of water in the Atlantic.
Whilst other varieties of clams are larger and have a tougher texture, these divine clams are perfect for grilling and steaming as they are plump and juicy.
On average, a pound of Littlenecks yields anywhere between 7-10 clams.
Preparing your Littlenecks
It is always a good idea to chill raw clams for a few hours before trying to open them as it actually makes the job easier. This is because the muscle that typically holds the clam shut relaxes when chilled.
When preparing clams there are a few points you should note.
Always discard any clams that have broken shells or do not open when tapped; this is because the clam inside will be dead and should not be consumed.
Always scrub the shells clean and soak them in very salty water for a minimum of 20 mins to allow for any grit or sand to filter out. Afterwards, soak them in cold, unsalted water for about 10 minutes to remove excess salt they had absorbed during the first soaking process.
Clams can be eaten raw, but they are typically steamed. Other interesting ways to cook clams include pickling them or smoking them!
If you are cooking clams, the shells will pop open once they are done. Overcooking clams is very easy to do and, unfortunately, can turn them very rubbery. It's important to remember that they only need a few minutes before they are ready.
Never tried clams before?
Clams are a great introduction to seafood if seafood has not been a regular part of your diet up to now.
It can be difficult to tell them apart from scallops and oysters, although - interestingly - they are all technically clams! Oysters and scallops are simply saltwater versions of clams.
Many people describe oysters as having a briny taste, whereas scallops are more buttery. A notable difference between oysters and clams is that oysters produce pearls, whereas a clam cannot, so keep your eyes peeled if you are ever enjoying oysters!
As clams are a wonderful accompaniment to other seafood dishes, try serving this dish prior to a seafood entree. It's so simple to make and only requires about 10 minutes of your time!