Last week, we relaxed by the Connecticut shoreline. It’s something I have done summer after summer since I was a baby. And it’s something that I hope Will looks back on with fond memories when he’s an adult, just like I do.
Some things have changed since childhood though. For instance, whereas my grandmother used to do 90 percent of the cooking herself (with the other 10 percent being my grandfather barbecuing), my stepfather and I split cooking duties these days when I am there. But more on that another day (he’s quite a cook).
For the Fourth of July, which was rainy for the first time in memory here in Connecticut, I planned to barbecue on the brassiere out back. But torrential rains had other ideas. Fortunately, I am resourceful and was able to quickly change up my cooking to be done on the stove instead (there was no way those briquettes would light and stay lit in weather like that).
Like spending summers by the shore, these clams are something of my childhood. But I’ve adapted the cooking method so you get more hoppy taste with the little delicious clams. Why change it up? Because at home I have a gas grill and while gas is easy and great for a lot of things, it isn’t suitable for pouring beer over the flame, as you could in a brassiere with briquettes. As it turned out, the clams came out so well that this is the only way I cook ‘em nowadays. Special thanks to Curt of Bucky’s Barbecue Blog for talking me through the development of this method.
Beer Steamed Clams
serves 6 as an appetizer
2 dozen clams (I prefer little neck for this)
1 can or bottle of beer
1 tbsp butter
Preheat your pan over a grill, brassiere or stove over medium heat. If you are using a grill or brassiere, be sure to use cast iron.
Pour in beer (all of it) and add clams in a single layer. (It will likely take several batches to do all the clams – usually three batches for me.) Cover and cook, checking regularly, until the shells open wide.
Once the clams are all cook, in a small pan, melt butter and add two spoonfuls of the broth from the clam pan. Whisk together and then pour over the clams just before serving.