To Clean: Scrub shells with brush under cold running water. Cover clams with cold salted water (1/3 cup salt to 1 gal. water). Let stand 5 min. to allow clams to cleanse themselves of sand. Repeat 2-3 times. Discard any opened cherrystones (hard shells). Open steamer clams will have some constriction of neck or siphon when clam is touched (an indication they are alive). Should keep alive in refrigerator 1-2 days.
On The Half Shell: Allow 6 per person
Shuck and cut both muscles free from two halves of the shell. Remove only one of the shells. Place 6 half-shell clams on a bed of crushed ice in 6 shallow bowls or plated, with a container of cocktail sauce in center. garnish with lemon wedges and watercress.
Steamed Clams: Allow 20 clams per person
Place scrubbed clams in 1/2 inch of salted water. Cover and steam just until clams open (6-10 min.). Discard any clams that do not open. Serve with melted butter and cups of seasoned broth (season cooking liquid with onion and celery salt, parsley flakes and pepper).