- Clam Knife
Note: Don’t try to use a pearing knife or other sharp knives to open shellfish, you can really hurt yourself.
- Lay the clam in your hand with the hinge pointing toward your thumb and the rounded end pointing toward your fingers.
- Position your knife blade in the groove between the shells parallel to the plane of the hinge line and wrap your fingers around the back of the blade. At this point you should realize that the hand holding the knife handle is just there to steady the knife NOT to apply any force or cutting action.
- Using the heal of the hand holding the clam push the clam into the knife – never push or force the knife into the clam. Again, the hand holding the knife handle will only steady the knife. Once the knife is between the shells stop.
- Holding the clam rotate the handle of the knife- this will open the shell up just a little at one end.
- Rest the tip of the index finger of the hand holding the clam against the edge to hold the gap open while you remove the knife.
- Free the clam from the top shell by putting the tip of the knife up against the underside of the top shell and running it along until you cut the muscles holding the shells together.
- Now the top shell can be pulled open and twisted off.
- Loosen the clam from the lower shell by running the knife along the inside of the bottom shell to cut the adductor muscles.
Once you have mastered it you will realize two things:
- It is a very cool thing to be able to do.
- It’s not so cool that you would want to be a chef who has to open 250 clams every night.
- Oyster Knife
- Fold a clean dish towel into thirds and set it down on the counter top.
- Place an oyster cup side down on the towel and fold the towel over the oyster leaving the hinge exposed.
- Leaving the oyster on the countertop hold the oyster with the towel making sure that the towel is protecting your hand.
- Work the tip of the oyster knife into the hinge area gently.
- Once the tip is in place rotate the knife handle and pop the hinge.
- Now slip the knife along the underside of the top shell to free the the adductor muscle and remove the top shell.
- Run the knife along the inside of the cupped bottom shell to free the entire oyster body.
- Remove any small shell fragments that may have gotten into the oyster during the opening process with the tip of your knife.