*If you have access to clean seawater, use it.
Look for clams that are tightly closed with no cracks (chipped, broken or damaged). Never choose a clam that is open. The smaller the clams, the more tender the flesh.
When you purchase clams, make sure you unwrap them at home and place them in salted water so they can breathe. The clam pushes salt water and sand out of their shells. When ready to use, pull the clams up and out of the water and to the colander and then rinse and scrub them with a firm brush to remove any additional sand. You may want to change the water a few times during the day.
Cook clams in a large sauce pot or pan in a single layer so they open and cook at the same time. Otherwise, give them a stir once in a while. Taste them before adding any salt. Most of the time, they don't need additional salt at all.
Serve the clams at once while they're still hot. The clams toughen as they cool.
Cook the garlic and ginger (plus chopped shallots) with a little bit of oil to release the aromatic flavors before adding the clams and the sake.
Cook the the garlic and ginger (plus chopped shallots) in butter and before serving the clams, finish with more butter and serve with a warm crusty bread instead of rice.
Clams are a good source of iodine and selenium. These trace minerals are needed for the production of thyroxine, a thyroid hormone.