Ever since a chef told me that clams are safer to eat than oysters or mussels, I haven’t been afraid to order clams whenever I see them in restaurant menus. Clams are one of the most delicious shellfish there is. They’re simply irresistible when cooked with garlic and butter or in a slightly spicy tomato sauce.
Lately I’ve been cooking clams at home, too. Here’s an easy recipe for clams in a vinegar-soy sauce. Make sure to buy clams that are tightly closed—which means they’re still alive. Clams that have opened before they’re cooked are dead and should be discarded faster than you can say halaan. By no means should you ever attempt to cook them.
Conversely, once you’ve cooked the clams, discard those whose shells remain closed. If they didn’t open, they’re most likely not safe to eat.
Clams should be cooked as soon as possible after you’ve bought them. This will ensure their freshness and flavor.
Clams in Vinegar-Soy Sauce
For the clams:
1 kg clams
Water for soaking the clams
For cooking the clams:
1 kg cleaned clams (see above)
6-8 c water
6-8 pc ginger slices
1 medium onion, sliced
2 tsp salt
For the sauce:
4 cloves garlic
1 tbsp sugar
½ c soy sauce
¼ c vinegar
¼ c freshly squeezed
¼ c water
4 stems spring onions, diced
2 tbsp diced wansuy leaves
Clean and cook the clams. Be sure to buy clams that are tightly closed. As soon as you reach home, soak the clams in water with a little salt for 15-20 minutes. Drain the clams and brush the shells to get rid of any remaining sand. Discard any clam that’s opened.
Put the clams in a large stockpot and pour in the water. Add the ginger slices, onions and salt. Bring to a boil. Let boil until all the clams open completely. Discard any clam that remains closed.
With a large slotted spoon or strainer, scoop out the clams and transfer them to a serving platter.
Reserve the liquid in the stockpot. Prepare the sauce.
Combine the garlic, sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, calamansi juice and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. When the mixture comes to a boil, stir in the spring onions and wansuy leaves. Remove from heat and pour over the cooked clams or serve as dip for the clams.
Strain the liquid in the stockpot and serve as soup.