Clams and Mussels

Finding fresh clam and mussels can be a daunting task.  Make sure that you purchase them from a good fish market where there is plenty of turn over.  Your eyes and nose will guide you.  Fresh hardshell clams and mussels should look tightly closed or just slightly gaping open.  If they are yawning wide, they are dead or close to being dead.  Once you have them in hand, take a sniff.  They should smell like the sea.  If they are really fishy smelling then don’t buy them.  

Shellfish will suffocate in plastic so make sure to take them out of the store wrap as soon as you get home.  Place them in a bowl and cover the bowl with a wet towel and refrigerate.  It is best to cook them as soon as possible however if they are really fresh you can keep them for a few days.

Before you cook the clams look for any that have opened, if one has opened tap it lightly on the counter.  If the clam closes keep it however if it doesn’t close toss it. For mussels you will need to press on the 2 shells in opposing directions.  Dead ones will fall apart.  Toss the ones that are dead.  For the remaining mussels scrub the shells under cold running water with a stiff brush to get rid of any dirt or grit.  If the mussels have beards i.e. black hairy fibers sticking out of their shells, then pinch them and yank them off.

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