Clams are reliable sources of iron, vitamin C, and Omega-3 fatty acids. One 3 oz. serving of clams contains 130% of your daily value (DV) of iron. You can take an easy step in order to help your body absorb this iron—I’ll explain later in this post. Clams do not contain mercury, which is a concern for some. They are high in sodium, which is important to note, for those watching their blood pressure closely. I don’t recommend drinking clam broth straight after cooking clams because it's extremely salty. However, do yourself a favor: save the broth and use it to flavor other dishes later. (This is yet another reason why you should make sure your clams are grit-free by washing them carefully prior to cooking them.) I'll even provide a recipe of a veggie dish cooked using the clam broth yielded from this post's recipe.
2 dozen fresh small clams (I used Middle Neck clams from the Chesapeake Bay)
¼ cup unsalted butter
1 12-oz cheap American lager i.e. Bud Light
2/3 tbsp. Trader Joe’s habanero hot sauce
1 medium garlic clove, minced
3 tbsp. diced white onion
2 tsp. Trader Joe’s Italian Style Soffritto Seasoning Blend
Dash of freshly ground black pepper
1 slice of fresh lemon (NOT pre-packaged lemon juice) – approx. 1 cm. thick
Thoroughly rinse and drain the clams to remove any dirt. I use veggie wash such as Trader Joe’s Next to Godliness Fruit & Vegetable Wash for this. (By the way, I only use produce wash as a surfactant for really grimy foods such as celery, potatoes, root vegetables, and shellfish.) The FDA recommends you don't use packaged produce wash, by the way.
Saute the garlic and onion in the butter until browned using the saute feature of the Instant Pot*. (My Instant Pot heats very quickly on the saute feature so I’m mindful of that and turn it off if it gets too hot.) Once the garlic and onion is almost browned, turn it off and add the habanero sauce to the garlic/onion/butter mixture and stir. Next, slowly pour in 12 oz. of American lager, being careful not to burn yourself by hot butter splashing up. I found I prefer Bud Light in this recipe better than Miller Light. If you're wondering why I chose beer over white wine, it's because I'm not a wine guy, so I decided to see how the clams turned out cooked with beer!
Add the Italian Soffrito seasoning and black pepper, then place the clams in the Instant Pot. Close the lid, make sure the valve is set to the “sealing” position, turn the Instant Pot on, and set it to “manual” with its time set to 1 minute. Once the cooking cycle is completed, release the pressure manually and remove the clams carefully using tongs or the like.
Discard any unopened clams. Squeeze a slice of lemon over each clam and into the broth. If you don’t have a fresh lemon, don’t even bother making this recipe! The vitamin C in the lemons will help your body absorb the iron in the clams, as well as releases their sweet flavor. Bon appetit!
Last but not least, empty your kitchen trash can. You don’t want to leave the clam shells sitting around in your kitchen for 12 hours! Once the broth cools, consider storing it for later use i.e. freeze it in a Ziploc bag. Stay tuned for a veggie recipe that will make you want to steam clams, if for nothing else than their juice.
*If you don't have an Instant Pot, steam the clams using your steamer per the manufacturer's instructions for steaming clams.
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