Clams on the half shell, the popular seafood delicacy, have a day dedicated to them. Every year on March 31st, people celebrate National Clams on the Half Shell Day. This day is all about indulging in the mouthwatering, briny taste of raw clams, slurping them down, and savoring the ocean’s flavors. In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about National Clams on the Half Shell Day, its history, and how to celebrate it.
The Origin of National Clams on the Half Shell Day
National Clams on the Half Shell Day has been celebrated since 2017. Although the origin of the day is unclear, it is believed to have started as a way to celebrate the delicious seafood delicacy and to raise awareness about the importance of sustainable seafood. This day gives people an opportunity to enjoy fresh clams on the half shell and to try out different recipes.
Why Clams on the Half Shell are So Popular
Clams on the half shell are a popular seafood delicacy enjoyed by many people worldwide. The fresh, briny flavor of raw clams is something that cannot be replicated by any other seafood. The texture and taste of clams are influenced by their growing conditions, which makes them unique to their location. Clams can be found on both the East and West coasts of the United States and are enjoyed in different ways depending on the region.
Health Benefits of Eating Clams
Clams are an excellent source of protein, vitamins, and minerals. They are also low in fat and calories, making them a healthy option for people watching their weight. Clams are rich in iron, which is essential for the formation of red blood cells and helps prevent anemia. They also contain vitamin B12, which is important for maintaining healthy nerve cells and DNA.
How to Enjoy Clams on the Half Shell
Eating clams on the half shell is a unique experience that requires a certain level of skill. To enjoy clams on the half shell, you will need a clam knife, a lemon, and some hot sauce. Start by holding the clam in your hand and using the clam knife to cut the muscle that attaches the clam to its shell. Then, squeeze some lemon juice over the clam and add a drop of hot sauce. Finally, slurp the clam from the shell and savor its delicious flavor.
The Best Ways to Cook Clams
There are many ways to cook clams, but the most popular method is to steam them. Steaming clams is a simple and easy way to cook them, and it brings out their natural flavor. To steam clams, place them in a pot with a small amount of water, cover the pot, and cook for a few minutes until the clams open. Once the clams have opened, they are ready to eat.
The Dos and Don’ts of Eating Clams
When it comes to eating clams, there are some dos and don’ts to keep in mind. Here are a few tips to ensure that you enjoy your clams safely and deliciously:
- Do buy fresh clams from a reputable seafood market or supplier.
- Do scrub the clams thoroughly before cooking or eating them.
- Do cook the clams until they open fully to ensure they are safe to eat.
- Do use a clean and sanitized clam knife when shucking the clams.
- Do pair the clams with a lemon wedge and hot sauce for a burst of flavor.
- Don’t eat clams that are already open before cooking them.
- Don’t eat clams that have a foul odor or are slimy.
- Don’t eat the black stomach of the clam, as it can cause digestive issues.
- Don’t leave cooked clams out at room temperature for more than two hours.
The Art of Pairing Wine and Clams
Pairing wine with clams can enhance the flavors of both the seafood and the wine. Light white wines such as Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chardonnay pair well with clams on the half shell. The acidity in these wines complements the brininess of the clams and balances their richness. For those who prefer red wine, light-bodied red wines such as Pinot Noir or Beaujolais also pair well with clams.
Best Restaurants to Celebrate National Clams on the Half Shell Day
Many restaurants across the United States celebrate National Clams on the Half Shell Day by offering specials on raw clams or featuring unique clam dishes. Here are some of the best restaurants to celebrate National Clams on the Half Shell Day:
- The Walrus and the Carpenter in Seattle, Washington
- Row 34 in Boston, Massachusetts
- Pearl Oyster Bar in New York City, New York
- Grand Central Oyster Bar in New York City, New York
- Hog Island Oyster Co. in San Francisco, California
Unique Clam Recipes to Try
If you’re looking to try something different with your clams, here are some unique clam recipes to try:
- Clam chowder: a creamy soup made with potatoes, onions, and clams
- Linguine with clam sauce: a pasta dish with a white wine and clam sauce
- Clam dip: a creamy dip made with clams, cream cheese, and sour cream
- Fried clams: breaded and deep-fried clams served with tartar sauce
- Clam bake: a traditional New England meal that includes clams, lobster, corn, and potatoes cooked in seaweed
How to Shuck Clams Like a Pro
Shucking clams can be a daunting task for beginners, but with practice, it can become a breeze. To shuck clams like a pro, follow these steps:
- Hold the clam firmly in your hand with the hinge facing you.
- Insert the tip of the clam knife into the hinge and twist it to open the clam.
- Run the knife along the inside of the top shell to separate the clam from the shell.
- Remove the top shell and discard it.
- Run the knife along the inside of the bottom shell to separate the clam from the shell.
- Slide the knife under the clam to detach it from the bottom shell.
Fun Facts About Clams
- Clams can live up to 35 years.
- The largest clam ever recorded weighed over 500 pounds.
- Clams can filter up to 50 gallons of water per day.
- The adductor muscle of the clam is the part that people eat.
- There are over 15,000 species of clams.
- Clams are a common ingredient in sushi and other Japanese cuisine.
Sustainable Seafood and Clams
Sustainable seafood practices are essential for protecting our oceans and the marine life that lives within them, including clams. Some ways to ensure that your clams are sustainably sourced include buying from reputable suppliers who follow sustainable fishing practices, choosing wild-caught clams over farmed ones, and checking for sustainable seafood certifications such as the Marine Stewardship Council’s blue label.
Clams and Their Importance to Marine Ecosystems
Clams play an important role in marine ecosystems by filtering water and removing excess nutrients, which can prevent harmful algal blooms and improve water quality. Clams also provide habitat and food for other marine animals, including crabs, fish, and shorebirds.
FAQ: Everything You Need to Know About Clams on the Half Shell
- What is National Clams on the Half Shell Day? National Clams on the Half Shell Day is a day dedicated to celebrating the delicious seafood delicacy and raising awareness about sustainable seafood practices.
- When is National Clams on the Half Shell Day celebrated? National Clams on the Half Shell Day is celebrated annually on March 31st.
- What are the health benefits of eating clams? Clams are a good source of protein, vitamins, and minerals, and are low in fat and calories. They are also rich in iron and vitamin B12.
- What is the best way to cook clams? The most popular way to cook clams is to steam them, but they can also be fried or baked.
- What is the best way to shuck clams? To shuck clams, hold the clam firmly with the hinge facing you, insert the clam knife into the hinge, twist to open the clam, and remove the top and bottom shells.
National Clams on the Half Shell Day is a day to celebrate the unique flavor and texture of clams on the half shell. From their health benefits to their importance in marine ecosystems, clams are a versatile and delicious seafood delicacy. Whether you enjoy them raw, steamed, or in a recipe, be sure to celebrate this day and savor the taste of fresh, briny clams.