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How to shuck softshell (Ipswich) clams for frying?


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Found a great place to dig for soft shells here in CT and I had my fill of steamers this week so I want to try frying them clam shack style.

I'm quite adept at shucking hard shells and oysters so getting the soft shells open is no problem. But what does one do about the dirty, coating on the neck and around the perimeter? I tried peeling a few and it works but to be quite honest it's very labor intensive, is there a faster way? Partially steaming them perhaps?

thanks, Rob

My problem lies in reconciling my gross habits with my net income.

- Errol Flynn

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I don't know what Ipswich clams are, but for regular Maine clams this is what I do. Learned from a friend who worked at a local clam shucking operation.

Wash clams. Put in a pot that holds them all. Then pour boiling water over them, so they're covered with hot water. Let sit for 30 seconds - half a minute. No more. Then drain hot water and fill pot (with clams) with cold water. Now, they're ready to shuck. They're not cooked. Just easy to open.

If you're going to make a chowder, shuck them over a bowl to catch the juice to use in cooking the chowder.

Maybe this isn't what you were looking for, but hope it helps.

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Ipswich calms are soft shell calms, steamers, piss clams. they're the ones you dig in the mud flats at low tide and are used for steamimg or frying. I believe you are speaking of hard shell clams, quahogs, littlenecks, cherrystones, etc. These are used for clams on the half shell, stuffed clams and chowders.

I don't know what Ipswich clams are, but for regular Maine clams this is what I do. Learned from a friend who worked at a local clam shucking operation.

Wash clams. Put in a pot that holds them all. Then pour boiling water over them, so they're covered with hot water. Let sit for 30 seconds - half a minute. No more. Then drain hot water and fill pot (with clams) with cold water. Now, they're ready to shuck. They're not cooked. Just easy to open.

If you're going to make a chowder, shuck them over a bowl to catch the juice to use in cooking the chowder.

Maybe this isn't what you were looking for, but hope it helps.

My problem lies in reconciling my gross habits with my net income.

- Errol Flynn

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I had to find out what a Maine clam is, and found out at this link. So, a Maine clam is the same as an Ipswich clam. A softshell clam. After more than thirty years of eating, and sometimes digging, them you'd think I'd know that. But, I didn't. :unsure:

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That's them! I'll give your method a try, does it make it easy to pull the coating off the necks and out from around the rim?

I had to find out what a Maine clam is, and found out at this link. So, a Maine clam is the same as an Ipswich clam. A softshell clam. After more than thirty years of eating, and sometimes digging, them you'd think I'd know that. But, I didn't.  :unsure:

My problem lies in reconciling my gross habits with my net income.

- Errol Flynn

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  • 5 years later...

Found this old thread via a google search and figured I should reply as I used the technique mentioned about and it worked perfectly.  Covered the steamers/ipswich clams with the boiling water for exactly 30 seconds exactly (then into cold water), and their neck skins came right off and they were super easy to clean/shuck.

 

jcg

Edited by jcg (log)
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