Atlantic surf clams provide a perfect lean protein
Consumers are increasingly looking for healthy and lighter protein alternatives to many cuts of meat. Seafood is an excellent source of protein consumers are turning to because it is generally low in fat. In fact, according to Technomic’s 2017 Center of the Plate: Seafood & Vegetarian report, 89% of consumers say they eat seafood at least one a month, 58% of consumers consider seafood to be healthier than beef or pork and 43% consider seafood to be healthier than chicken or turkey.
One versatile seafood that seems to be overlooked and relegated to New England clam chowder and seafood stews is the lean protein Atlantic surf clam. The clam’s sweet flavor and texture lends well to most any recipe where proteins are used. But, how can Atlantic surf clams be used more widely as center-of-the-plate items? Here’s more reasons clams should be on the menu.
Surf clams are versatile
Atlantic surf clams are plentiful, cost-effective and have long been considered the prize of the sea because of their naturally tender texture and sweet flavor. When diners think of clams, recipes like deep-fried clam strips or clam fritters may come to mind. However, if they’re looking for healthier prepared options, those may be more difficult to find in restaurants. One half of consumers say they would like more restaurants to offer a wider variety of seafood dishes, according to Technomic’s Seafood & Vegetarian report. Operators should expect consumers to crave seafood recipes with items that are grilled (53%), stir fried or sauteed (45%), or broiled (40%).
For instance, offer clams puttanesca, which includes grilled green zucchini, grilled yellow zucchini and red onion, topped with sauteed Atlantic surf clams and puttanesca sauce.
Ocean Clam are a healthy protein source
Ocean clams are a product made from the ocean quahog, which has long been considered the work horse of the clam chowder world because of its robust flavor. It’s a much smaller clam than the surf clam. An adult ocean clam measures about 3 inches, they are a very slow growing clam compared to the surf clam. They are fished in offshore waters with hydraulic dredges and can be found up to 120-200 feet deep.
The ocean clam is another perfect alternative protein source for consumers because it is a low-fat protein and a is low in cholesterol. They are also a good source of iron, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese and selenium.
Ocean clams stand up to complex flavors
Ocean clams pair well with and complement bold and lively flavors. The meat is pink, and slightly darker than the surf clam and it has a firmer texture. It can be used as a star of a dish or as an ingredient. The ocean clam is also available as a whole ocean clam, which is a great visual for sauces, salads and appetizers.
For instance, ocean clams make an excellent protein substitute for minced pork or shrimp in fresh spring roll recipes, which generally include bold ingredients like Thai basil, mint, cilantro and fish sauce, as well as a flavor-forward dipping sauce like hoisin sauce or peanut sauce.
Ocean clams also pair well with wines. For clams unadorned, serve a white Bordeaux, a sauvignon blanc or a dry rose. For clams in cream sauce, try a mid-range white Burgundy or a medium-oaked chardonnay. For clams in tomato sauce, offer an acidic sauvignon blanc or a muscadet.
Surf clams and ocean clams offer a story of sustainability
In 1977, the Atlantic Surfclam and Ocean Quahog (SC/OQ) fishery became the first fishery in the U.S. to be regulated under the Magnuson Stevens Act (MSA).
The Atlantic Surfclam and Ocean Quahog fisheries achieved Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification, the world’s most credible standard for sustainable wild-caught seafood, in December 2016. The MSC is an international nonprofit organization established to set global scientific standards for sustainable fishing practices and to ensure an ocean teeming with life for this and future generations.
Visit MAFMC.org for more information on the SC/OQ fishery.
At Sea Watch, we’re committed to fishing sustainably and are proud to be a leader in protecting the world’s oceans and supporting sustainably managed fisheries. For a tasty option that’s low in cholesterol, pairs well with other menu items and has a delicious, light texture and flavor, surf clams can’t be beat.
Where Do Your Clams Come From?
Here at Sea Watch International we can tell you exactly where they come from, who caught them and when. You see All of our clams come from federally regulated US waters off the east coast. Our 30 US flagged boats harbored in Atlantic City, NJ and New Bedford, MA harvest clams miles off the coast in deep clean waters of the Atlantic Ocean. The harvest of the clam resource is managed by the National Marine Fisheries Services, the transportation and handling of our clams is regulated by the Interstate Shellfish Commission, the processing of clams in our US plants are regulated by the FDA, State and Local Health agencies.
Why does it matter where your clams come from? Clams are filter feeders, all clams do all day is pump water through their digestive system. The Atlantic Surfclam can filter as much as 200 gallons of sea water a day. That is why you want to know where your clams come from. If there is pollution in the water whether it be biologic or chemical in nature it will be present in the gut of the clams that you eat. Clams harvested in state and federal waters of the US are regulated under the strictest guidelines of any shellfish on the planet.
Where Do Your Clams Come From?