If you have the good fortune to live where the clams do — or if your local seafood market offers the fresh item in the shell — you’ll definitely need a couple of good clam knives like the Mundial Narrow Clam Knife Set. A paring knife isn’t nearly so handy for this as a knife specially made for the work.
A good clam knife has a rounded handle wide enough for good twisting leverage and a short strong blade that hopefully won’t stab you if it slips. There’s a trick to opening a live clam, and the clam definitely won’t cooperate. Even if you douse them with boiling water, the clam knife will still play an essential role. The toughest muscles in the little beasts are the ones that anchor the shell closed.
These clam knives are inexpensive and well-designed for the work. There are several important steps in cleaning a clam, and the Mundial knives cover all of them. The strong polypropylene handles offer a secure grip for driving the edge of the knife between the shells in a controlled and reasonably safe way. The full tang embedded in the poly grip handle supports the twisting force that works the blade deeper, and the rounded point severs the muscle hinge without digging into the shell. These knives were built for professional use, and home chefs will find them equally practical.
If you’re working with something tougher than a clam or a mussel, you may need a similar knife with a larger handle like the Lamson Oyster Shucking Knife. A cut-proof glove also helps.
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[phpbay]Mundial Clam, 2[/phpbay]