As a New Englander, I am hopelessly devoted to the soft shelled steamer clam. For me, it is the essence of summer, served family style, piled high in bottomless bowls with plenty of clam broth and drawn butter scattered around the table. I am sharing my father's recipe, which I believe is the only way to prepare them. It is simple, fool proof and absolutely delicious.
Steamers are always to be accompanied by a bowl of clam broth (never hot water) from the pot in which they were steamed. Once the neck skin is removed, the clam is dunked into the broth to rinse off any sand and grit, then quickly dunked into the drawn butter. If you are serving corn on the cob with steamers, you can steam them in the same pot, once the steamers are removed.
If you dig clams (pun intended), watch this space. Summer has only just started.
Salvatore Mosca's Steamers
4 lbs steamer clams
4 celery stalks, chopped into 1" pieces
2 medium yellow onions quartered
1 bottle of beer (Sam Adams Summer Ale or something equivalent)
Red pepper flakes
4 tablespoons butter, melted
Rinse the clams thoroughly, at least twice, to remove as much sand and grit as possible. Place into a stock pot.
Toss the celery and onions on top of the clams. Pour the beer over and then sprinkle very generously with red pepper flakes.
Steam, covered, until all the clams are open
Ladle the clams into bowls. Ladle broth from the pot into small bowls. Melted butter in separate bowls.
This recipe will serve 4 as first course or 2 as a main course.