The humble clam has much to offer the home cook. It’s a sustainable, nutrient-rich food that’s more affordable than much of what you’ll find at the fishmonger. Knowing a thing or two about clams, from what to look for to how to prep them can help you make the most of these briny bivalves.

Once you’ve got your clams in the kitchen, the options for how to cook them are endless. Simple spaghetti and clams is perfect for beginners (and don’t be surprised if the kids like it, too). There are East Coast classics, such as clam chowder, clams casino, grilled clams, and steamers with drawn butter. And plenty of dishes from far away places are worth exploring, too, such as paella and ceviche.

HOW TO BUY, CLEAN, AND STORE CLAMS

Fresh clams are alive, or at least they should be when you pick them up at the market. Depending upon where you purchased the clams or if…

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