Clams are readily available to most consumers. Types of clams vary by region, but most coastal areas have local clam fisheries. Fresh clams are an excellent ingredient in dips or spreads. For cooks that don't have access to fresh clams, there are canned products.
The simplest clam dips are made from sour cream, powdered ranch dressing mix and diced, cooked clam meat.
More complex dips might contain only sour cream, clams, fresh herbs, vegetables and spices.
Regardless of the recipe, nearly all clam dips will benefit from a few simple preparation steps.
For surf clams, quahogs or similar species, it is best to remove the stomach and other inedible parts of the body. Next, the clam meat is diced into pieces.
Once diced, clams should be simmered for 2-3 minutes. Do NOT overcook! After cooking, the meat is rinsed and allowed to chill.
When possible, clam dips should be assembled and chilled for several hours before serving. Home made clam dips get better after chilling overnight and usually are at peak flavor for 2-3 days.
Of course clam dips are delicious and rarely last more than a few minutes when served to hungry guests.