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clams .vs muscles


Posted: 10/2/2009 4:05 PM

clams .vs muscles 

I need some help so I don't cook something that will make my guests ill!!
1) what are the differences between clams and muscles?
2) is one a substitute for the other in a bake?
3) it looks like there are a number of varities of clams such as "little Neck" and "Middle Neck." Which is better for a bake?
4) are there any simple tp prepare recipes for crab cakes.

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Posted: 10/2/2009 5:14 PM

Re: clams .vs muscles 

They are two different species of shellfish and each has it's own distinct taste. Clams are white to gray  and mussels are an oblong shell in a dark blue/black color. Mussel meat is rubbery with a heavier taste than clams but they are both very good.Some clams are eaten raw as well as cooked while mussels are generally always cooked. Mussels also have a "beard" also known as byssal threads. The beard is comprised of many fibers which emerge from the mussel's shell.  It can cleaned off with a tooth brush or paper towel.

2.  I would not substitute, mussels are good in a marinara where as you can make clams in a garlic butter.  If you are doing a seafoodboil, you can use both.  Make sure you un-wrap your clams/shellfish so they can breathe.  It also helps to soak them in water with some cornmeal in it so they expel the sand they have in them since they are filter feeders.

3.  There are over 2000 kinds of clams the most common are here  Hard-shell clams generally live in deeper
waters, and soft-shells are usually close to shore, often exposed at low
tide. Soft-shells are generally not eaten raw.

The soft-shell clam is also known as Manninose, piss clam, long-neck
clam, steamer, fried clam, Ipswich clam, and belly clam. Its shell is so thin
and brittle that you can easily snap it into pieces with your fingers. The
entire clam is too big to fit inside its shell. The siphon (also called the
snout or neck) hangs out. They're called piss clams, because the siphon
often sticks up through the sand, and when you walk by, they squirt you.
The hard-shell clam is also known as the northern quahog (pronounced
-hog) and has other names depending on its size. In general, the
smaller the clam, the more you pay per pound.
Little Necks (or littlenecks) are the smallest commonly available size of
east coast hard shell clam. They're named after Little Neck Bay on New
York’s Long Island, once an important clamming center.  Littlenecks are
the best choice for eating on the half-shell (raw) because they are the
tenderest and sweetest. They're also great steamed, roasted or on
Cherrystones are named after Cherrystone Creek on Virginia's
eastern shore. They're a little larger than littlenecks and can be eaten
raw, roasted, steamed,  in chowder, or stuffed.
Quahog or Chowder clams are the largest size. The meat is tough, but
they make flavorful chowder. They are usually chopped, minced, or diced
for use in chowders, clam cakes, fritters, dips and spaghetti sauce.
My dad is partial to cherrystones.

Crab cake recipe off the can
Homestyle Crab Cakes

A classic Maryland style crab cake!

1 lb. crab meat (backfin or lump)
2 slices bread (crust removed)
1 egg beaten
1 Tbsp. mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. parsley flakes
1 tsp. prepared mustard
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. Old Bay
1/4 tsp. salt

In bowl, break bread into small pieces and moisten with milk.  Add all remaining ingredients except crab and mix.  Pick over crab meat to remove shell particles. Add crab meat to mixture, mixing gently but thoroughly.  Shape into six patties and chill 30 minutes.  Pan fry in a little butter or oil until brown on each side or broil in oven until browned.

"When you go in the lion's den, you don't tippy toe in.You carry a spear, you go in screaming like a banshee, you kick whatever doors in, and say, 'Where's the son of a bitch!'If you go in any other way you're gonna lose.
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Posted: 10/3/2009 1:52 PM

Re: clams .vs muscles 

Thanks for all of this information. Great stuff.
If I can't find "Old Bay" in my local mid-west grocery, is there an worthy substitute?
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Posted: 10/3/2009 7:21 PM

Re: clams .vs muscles 

There is no life without Old Bay   I actually used to travel with it before the entire East Coast caught on.
Crab Dip


1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded and divided

3/4 cup mayonnaise

1 1/2 teaspoons OLD BAY® Seasoning

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/4 teaspoon McCormick® Ground Mustard

1 pound lump crabmeat

assorted crackers or pita chips


Preheat oven to 350° F. Mix half of the cheese, mayo, OLD BAY, Worcestershire sauce and ground mustard until well blended. Gently stir in crabmeat.

Spoon mixture into 1-quart casserole. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and a dash of OLD BAY. And maybe another dash... and if you feel bold, one more.

Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until dip begins to bubble around edges. Serve hot with assorted crackers or pita chips.

You can buy Old Bay on line Amazon has it or I guess any seafood seasoning would work
Click the OLD BAY link for their website and recipes

Here is another recipe I won't vouch for the taste though


  • 8 ounces lump crab meat
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 small clove garlic, finely minced, or dash garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup soft bread crumbs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Creole seasoning
  • 4 tablespoons butter


Rinse and pick over crab meat, discarding any pieces of shell or cartilage. Try to leave lumps as large as possible. Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over low heat; slowly saute finely diced onion, celery, red pepper, and garlic until tender. Whisk egg in bowl; add mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce, and Creole seasoning. Combine with sauteed vegetables and soft bread crumbs, mixing well. Add the crab meat and form into loose patties; place on waxed paper-lined plate. Refrigerate for about 1 hour, or until firm. Heat remaining 4 tablespoons butter in large skillet over medium-low heat. Gently place crab cakes in skillet and cook for about 5 minutes. Tu

Also with you clams make sure the shells are not open because if they are they are dead and no good.  If they are open and close when you touch them they are alive and good and if they are closed tight.

Whats funny, in the 80's we were on spring break and you could buy shrimp off the docks in the Keys for 3 dollars a pound cleaned, I took my steamer and Old Bay and we ate shrimp every night, we ran into these guys from Michigan and shared with them and they took my Old Bay home--they were sold and were going to stop in MD/VA to pick up several cans to take home.  This was before internet shopping.

"When you go in the lion's den, you don't tippy toe in.You carry a spear, you go in screaming like a banshee, you kick whatever doors in, and say, 'Where's the son of a bitch!'If you go in any other way you're gonna lose.

Last edited 10/3/2009 7:31 PM by drkraven

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Posted: 10/3/2009 7:37 PM

Re: clams .vs muscles 

Now that McCormick bought Old Bay, you can get it all over the country. They even use it on the Food Network.

Oderint dum metuant

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Posted: 10/24/2009 10:38 AM

Re: clams .vs muscles 

Just for the record I found Old Bay at, of all places, Wal Mart.

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Posted: 10/24/2009 2:46 PM

Re: clams .vs muscles 

Wally World has everything biggrin You just have to have the patience to look for it.

"When you go in the lion's den, you don't tippy toe in.You carry a spear, you go in screaming like a banshee, you kick whatever doors in, and say, 'Where's the son of a bitch!'If you go in any other way you're gonna lose.
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  • TSU86
  • Raven Veteran
  • 2060 posts this site

Posted: 10/26/2009 8:44 PM

Re: clams .vs muscles 

Either one are easy to steam.


Just put whatever spices float your boat in some water - Old bay, garlic, salt, pepper, etc

Steam the shellfish until the shell open -- only takes a few minutes.


Save the water you used!!!!!


After you take the clam/mussel from the shell, ****** in your water, then dip in butter.

Section 506 

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