Cryo-Shucked Clams

Your freezer is a great tool for shucking clams. [Photographs: Aki Kamozawa and H. Alexander Talbot]

Want to cook clams without their shells but don't know how to shuck them? This freezer method is the perfect solution, and requires no special knife- or shucking-skills.

Cryo-Shucked Clams

About This Recipe

Yield:Makes 50 shucked clams
Active time:30 minutes
Total time:5 hours plus overnight freezing
This recipe appears in: Ideas in Food vs. Linguine alle Vongole: Part 1


  • 13 1/3 cups (3000 grams) water
  • 5 tablespoons (90 grams) fine sea salt
  • 50 littleneck clams, rinsed


  1. 1

    In a large bowl, combine water and salt and stir until salt is dissolved. Transfer one-third of brine to another large bowl and add clams. Set clams in refrigerator and let soak for 30 minutes.

  2. 2

    Drain clams, then rinse clams and bowl. Return clams to bowl, add half of remaining brine and transfer to refrigerator to soak for 30 more minutes. Drain and repeat once more with remaining brine.

  3. 3

    Arrange clams in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and freeze overnight or up to 1 week, wrapping with plastic wrap once clams are frozen solid.

  4. 4

    When ready to shuck, transfer clams to refrigerator to thaw; the clams will pop open as they thaw. Using a spoon, pry open clam shells fully and scoop them into a bowl set over another bowl filled with ice; be sure to catch all of the clam juice in the bowl as you shuck the clams. Pour any extra clam liquid in the baking sheet into the bowl of clams.

  5. 5

    Using a pair of scissors, trim around the belly and foot sections (the soft, round center area and firm adjacent meat) of each clam. Transfer belly (also known as the visceral mass) and foot to a small bowl, cover with plastic, and refrigerate until ready to use. Add trimmings to the bowl of clam juice; cover and refrigerate until ready to use.


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