How to Shuck Clams
Aimee HerringMany people avoid shucking their own clams because they're not sure how to get the tiny bivalves open, but chef Howard Clark from The Culinary Institute of America demonstrates a simple technique for shucking. Clams have their two adductor muscles that they use to open and close. He says the best tool to open them is a clam knife, which is rounded and slightly sharpened along the edge. He places the joint of the clam along the joint of his thumb, and says that the rounded, elongated side opposite the clam's hinge is where it's easiest to put the knife in. He slides the knife inside, twisting the knife slightly to cut through the adductor muscles, and opens the clam. Once open, he loosens the two adductor muscles from the shell with the knife. To keep them fresh, he places the shucked clams on a bed of ice.
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Hi, I'm Chef Clark from the Culinary Institute of America, and I'm going to show you this kitchen basic: shucking clams!
Clams have two adductor muscles. One is located right about here, and one right about here (off to each side of the center, close to halfway down the shell). The clam knife is rounded at the end and very, very slightly sharpened along the edge.
We're going to put the joint of the clam in the joint of our thumb. Where the elongated piece comes out is basically where we're going to try to put our knife in. We have the joint of the clam in the joint of our thumb, and we push in, then bring the knife along the top shell, cutting the adductor muscles - so that as we open the clam it's down in the one shell. Here and here - we can see them now - are our adductor muscles. Loosen them, and now we'll put this over here on ice.
We'll do one more. This one's shape is slightly different and you'll notice the elongated part is on my left now. So I'm going to turn him just slightly, and again: my knife in between, push in with your fingers, bring your knife along the top shell - again, cutting the adductor muscles so as not to split the clam when we open it. We'll loosen both the adductor muscles so that the clam will fall out... and that's shucking a clam.
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