Swap Fresh Clams With Canned For Delicious Dip Without All The Prep

Seafood lovers know — a thick, creamy, tangy clam dip is a crave-worthy appetizer when paired with some crackers, veggies, or chips. But what seafood lovers also know (particularly ones who have made this dip before) is that wrestling with these mollusks in the kitchen can be a lot of work. Ideally, you'll first want to pick the freshest clams at the fish market. You'll also need to clean, cook, and cool them, then store them in the fridge until you're ready to make dip.

So if you want to whip up a delicious appetizer but sidestep all that laborious prep work, use canned clams instead. There's nothing wrong with going with the tinned route — especially since the ever-booming global canned seafood market grew to a whopping $30.09 billion in 2021, so there's plenty of options out there you can choose from. But if you choose to use tinned clams, your mollusks are already shucked, cooked, and cooled, so all you need to do is dump and go. Plus, according to culinary legend Jacques Pépin, this canned seafood is ideal because you don't risk overcooking it the way you might with the fresh version.

Deploy the canned clam liquid strategically

When subbing in canned clams for fresh, there is one important factor to keep in mind: the ingredients the seafood is packed in. Many containers come with salt water or clam juice, but you may also find tins with olive oil or even a flavorful sauce. In general, you'll want to opt for the former to avoid any extra ingredients from making it into your dish — but if you do, taste the saltiness of the liquid before making your recipe. You don't need to rinse canned clams, but you may want to if your tin is particularly salty. Doing so can also give you more control over the salt content in your dip, as you can add it in manually later on. If you want extra clam flavor or a thinner appetizer, however, you can reserve some of the juice (after draining) to mix as much as you'd like into your bowl.

You'll also want to keep in mind the type of tinned seafood you're purchasing. Minced clams are ideal, since the smaller pieces will distribute more evenly into your dip. But if you get chopped or whole pieces, simply run a knife through them before you mix them into your bowl. And luckily, you won't need to stock up on these cans to make your dish — one 6.5 ounce tin is typically enough for a dip that serves six people.