Soft shell/ steamer/ long neck clams vs. other clams

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Joined Feb 2, 2011
So I'm not much of a clam enthusiast, but for a memorable experience with long neck clams.

Can anyone very familiar with clams help to confirm or deny the significance of the difference? The long necks I had (necks aside, obviously) were the most tender, buttery clams I'd ever had, and your typical dish of steamed clams is not something I'd ever really order.

I asked some friends I used to cook with to order in some long neck clams if they had access to them, and they confirmed they could, but ended up ordering top neck clams, which seem to me to be significantly different.

I realize some folks may feel that one steamed clam is akin to the next, or shellfish is shellfish, so I am looking for input for folks a little more discerning between breeds. I haven't been able to find a thorough explanation about the nature of the long neck (aside from it's being softshell and burying itself deep in the sand), but I'm not crazy, right?

The softshell/ steamer/ long neck clam IS unique unto itself, is it not? Primarily in its tenderness?
 
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Joined Dec 18, 2010
Top neck is a hard shell clam. A small quahog.

Very different from soft shell clams in both taste and application.
 
19
19
Joined Feb 2, 2011
Top neck is a hard shell clam. A small quahog.

Very different from soft shell clams in both taste and application.
The folks who had ordered the top neck in lieu of the soft shells seemed to think only in terms of size, finding them comparable, and it had me doubting my own recollection.

I knew them to be completely different, but was beginning to think I was overstating the difference in my mind. Thanks for confirming.
 
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Joined May 5, 2010
Quahog clams are from the eastern US, South America, while razor clams are from the Pacific Northwest. That being said, they're going to be different right there. Not all quahogs are steamers though and not all steamers are quahog
 
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Joined Jul 13, 2012
Top neck clams are sized in between "steamers" and "cherry stones" they are very good. Steamers and quahogs are the clam just the difference in age and size. Long necks, or "piss clams" as we used to call them are delicious and hard to come by for some reason. We used to get them out on Long Island all the time and if you can get them by all means do. Razor clams are a different breed altogether.

Top necks need a bit of steaming to open then can be eaten nearly raw, but are very hard to shuck.
 
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Joined Feb 2, 2011
Around here we refer to little necks as steamers since we can't get the real thing. We get hard shells and Maine mahogany clams and little else.
we can usually get real deal steamers (soft shell, long neck), but the sales rep either misunderstood when he said he had the soft shell or they ran out (I know peak season ends around this time), and I just couldn’t seem to get the chef to grasp how wildly different the top necks (which were close to palm-size) actually are.
 
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Joined Feb 2, 2011
LOL. The less knowledge that people have, the more stubbornly they cling to the "knowledge" they do have.
right?? And generally speaking, I have a lot of respect for this chefs knowledge. I worked under him as my sous and he’s much more skilled than this anecdote would have you believe, but I think he picked up the bad habit of doubling down on an unsubstantiated idea about something vs admitting that perhaps he just didn’t know from our old exec (who insisted I fill macaron shells with room temp buttercream to order from my pastry station. I honestly don’t know how people ate them without an explosion at the table)
 
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Joined Aug 21, 2004
I am just as guilty as the next person at clinging to my "knowledge". For some reason "I don't know" scares the hell out of us humans, when in actuality those three words are the most liberating words in the English language.. :~)
 

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