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Shellfish such as clams and mussels are abundant around New England seashores. They are served in thousands of restaurants and used in chowders, sandwiches, stuffing, or enjoyed by themselves. The most popular recipes include mussels and fries, New England clam chowder, steamer clams with melted butter, and littleneck clams on the half shell.



Blue mussels are found year round and commonly attached to rocks, docks, and other structures near the tide lines. Blue mussels are farmed (rope grown) and usually take about 1 year to grow to a harvesting size. Also known as PEI mussels (Prince Edward Island), these mussels can be purchased as low as $2/pound in the summer and used in hundreds of recipes. Recommended Recipe: In a large pot, melt some butter and add diced garlic. When the garlic starts to brown, add the fresh (washed) mussels. Then add a light white wine and stir occasionally. Add some garlic bread or french fries as a side.

Steamer Clams are one of New England's favorite summer outside treat. These clams, also called Ipswich clams, or just steamers have a soft shell and are dug from sandy areas near the coastline. Steamers are often served with other seafood such as lobsters and make a great appetizer. (Tip: When you buy fresh steamers, soak them in the sink with ice and a few tablespoons of ground pepper for one - two hours before cooking them. This will help get rid of the sand inside the clam.) Steamers are almost always served with fresh butter. In the summer, many people will gather at outdoor restaurants and enjoy their steamer clams with a cold beer or glass of white wine. Recommended Recipe: Melt butter in a pan, add the steamer clams and your favorite beer. Serve with melted butter on the side.

Quahogs are used in the famous New England Clam Chowder. Thousands of restaurants serve clam chowder and many have their own recipes. You are sure to find the common ingredients of butter, cream, quahogs, and diced potatoes but the thickness of the chowder, spices, and vegetables (if used) can change. In addition to chowders, quahogs are stuffed (called stuffed quahogs or stuffies). These are great winter dishes, usually served as an appetizer. The stuffing can range but usually includes bread crumbs, and diced onions and peppers. Recommended Recipe: To make great stuffies, in addition to the above ingredients use garlic, sausage, parsley, and freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Little necks are hard shelled clams but smaller, sweeter, and more tender than quahogs. Little necks are commonly used in recipes like clams casino or eaten raw at raw bars and restaurants.Recommended Recipe: Clams casino with parsley, minced onion, bacon, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, and breadcrumbs.