1. Buy the freshest, most beautiful clams you can get your hands on.
2. Wash your clams well to make sure they are free of sand and grit.
3. Lay them out on a sheet pan and put them in the freezer for at least three hours until they are frozen through.
4. Move them to the refrigerator and let them thaw. As this happens they will slowly open up partway.
5. Use a spoon to gently scoop them out of their shells, holding them over a bowl to catch all of their juice.
That's it. The easiest method ever and it yields beautiful clams with abundant juice. It probably wouldn't be as fun to watch at a raw bar but for home cooks or large batches there's no better way to get them out of their shells quickly and easily. A little forethought goes a long way.
January 22, 2005