New Experience with Clams on the Half Shell

August 27, 2012

I was curiously watching my old neighbor shuck clam shells yesterday at my parents’ house.  He doused the open clams with cocktail sauce, a little squeeze of lemon and slurped them down.  I used to be grossed out by clams on the half shell.  I mean, let’s face it–raw clams are not too appealing.  They look like little, juicy, slimy blobs in a seashell.  Otter food.  It’s really no wonder that they’re covered with cocktail sauce and lemon juice.  When I asked my sister how they taste, she simply said, “Like a booger.”  Yummy.  

Maybe it was the two glasses of Pinot I had, but I was feeling brave.  I was down right intrigued and feeling adventurous.  So when my neighbor offered a clam on the half shell to me, I didn’t decline this time.  It wasn’t like the time I tried escargot fra diavolo.  I stared at the nasty little snail sticking off the top of my tiny fork.  I remember being told, “Just eat it!”  So I held my nose, closed my eyes and tried not to be completely grossed out by what I had just willingly eaten.  My experience with my first raw clam wasn’t like that.  I was confident that there might be a chance that I’d really like them.  I mean, I like them cooked.  I like them with bacon and garlic.  I like them in a lemon and wine sauce.  I like them with red sauce.  How much different could a raw clam be?

I’ll tell you–at first bite slurp, raw clam is not at all what I expected.  I wasn’t sure if I should just swallow the clam whole or bite down.  So I kind of did both.  The texture is much softer than a cooked clam.  I was expecting some sort of fishy flavor to it, but there wasn’t any.  It tasted savory and sweet all at the same time. The juice left in the shell provided the salty/savory taste, but the clam itself has a mild sweetness.  It was exactly what I picture something fresh from the ocean is supposed to taste like.  Paired with cocktail sauce and lemon, it almost reminded me of shrimp cocktail.  Definitely a pleasant experience!  So pleasant that I ate two more before running around the other side of the house to find my husband and tell him what I just ate.  His reaction was simply, “Good for you!  Now you have sushi poisoning.”  We know who is the adventurous eater in this relationship, don’t we?

For the record, I am not feeling poisoned by the raw clams I ate.  I am looking forward to more foodie adventures.  Someone find me an oyster!

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