Fresh clams are hard to find, so most chefs settle for canned clams or frozen clams. Luckily for you, we know the best place to buy fresh clams in San Francisco.
Fresh vs. frozen clams
When water freezes and becomes sharp ice chunks, the ice punctures cell walls in the meat, releasing liquid. So like any frozen meat, frozen clams are tough. This tough texture can’t be fixed in the cooking process, so there will always be a different taste when you use frozen clams rather than fresh ones.
You don’t have to sacrifice quality when cooking or making sushi with clams. Ocean Empire in the San Francisco Bay Area sells fresh clams directly to customers.
Where to buy fresh clams
You can buy fresh clams at Ocean Empire in South San Francisco. Pre-order online and then pick up the clams in San Francisco or Foster City.
Ocean Empire offers three varieties of fresh clams: East Coast Manila clams, Surf clams, and Washington Razor clams.
Fresh Manila Clams
On the smaller side, manila clams are sweeter than other clams and have a meaty, firm texture. Steaming manila clams is the most common way to prepare them, but these clams are also delicious when baked, poached, or sauteed. Manila clams are a wonderful addition to pasta dishes, salads, stews, soups, and stir-fries.
Use manila clams that are still in their shells within three to four days after purchase. Manila clam meat that is taken out of the shell should be used within three days of purchase.
Fresh Surf Clams
Surf clams are one of the largest clams we consume. The surf clam is a perfect sushi clam often made into sashimi.
Fresh Pacific Razor Clams
Beefy and chockful of protein, Pacific razor clams are equal parts tender and chewy. In the Pacific Northwest, you’ll find these clams rolled in breadcrumbs and pan-fried, but they also make excellent ceviche and of course, classic clam chowder.
How to store your clams
Fresh clams are best when cooked and eaten on the day of purchase. If you must store your fresh clams, follow these guidelines.
Place fresh clams in a breathable bag at the back of your fridge where it is coldest. Chill overnight before cooking if you must, but aim to use them ASAP. Alternatively, you can store the clams in a bowl, cover them with a damp paper towel, and then place that bowl into a larger bowl filled with ice, which you should replace as needed. Clams in a bowl will stay fresh for up to one week.
Refrigerating cooked clams
Do not freeze cooked clams unless you want rubbery meat. Refrigerate cooked clams in a covered container for up to four days.
Fresh clam meat can be frozen in the shell or on its own. To freeze clam meat, shuck, rinse, and drain them before placing them in an airtight container.
Only clams with tightly closed shells should be frozen. Run the live shells under cold water and then freeze them in an airtight plastic bag.