Middleneck clams are a mid-sized clam and their rich, firm-textured meat has a salty and slightly sweet flavor. Steam fresh middleneck clams with garlic and white wine. Serve them in bowls with their broth, and a large bowl for discarded shells. Include a basket of crusty bread to dip in the fragrant broth. Allow 10 to 12 clams per person. Clams are a good source of protein, iron and B-12.
Remove sand and grit from the clams. Fill a large bowl with cold water. Put the clams in the bowl and let them sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Drain the clams in a colander and run cold water over them to remove remaining grit and sand.
Heat the olive oil in a heavy pot. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook on medium-high heat until the garlic is slightly brown. Add the clams. Stir the clams in the oil for about two minutes to absorb the flavor of the garlic. Turn the heat down to medium-low.
Add the white wine, and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes until all of the clams have opened. Discard any clams that fail to open.
Ladle the clams and plenty of broth into individual serving dishes. Serve immediately.
Meg Crager began writing in 1983. She has published articles in the "Rocky Mountain News," the "Worcester Gazette" and through the Universal Press Syndicate. She is the author of a holiday book published by Weidenfeld and Nicolson. She has a Master of Arts in developmental psychology from Columbia University.