Last weekend I had steamers for the first time in about 10 years. If you've never heard the term "steamers" used to describe steamed clams, then you aren't a true Mainer. You may be wondering why I hadn't had them in so long. As much as I loved them, the whole experience could get ruined when you get a mouth of dirt and mud from that clam belly. All the butter in the world isn't going to help that.

That's when a friend of mine told me of a method he had heard of to cook steamers that gets rid off all that grit and dirt so that you are left to enjoy pure deliciousness. Apparently it's a trick that's been around for a long time, but it's the first we had heard of it.

The secret? Cornmeal.

We soaked our clams in water and cornmeal for about two hours. During their bath, the clams eat the cornmeal and out goes the dirt. Once they're steamed and you start dipping them in butter, you won't get a surprising mouth full of dirt. Instead you taste the cornmeal! Brilliant!

Some people have said you can't even taste the cornmeal, and for the most part that was true. But I must have had a couple of hungry clams who ate a lot of the stuff because their bellies were FULL.

So next time you're in the mood for steamers without the grit, try this trick.

Let me know how it works for you, or what ways you prepare steamers below in the comments or on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #cornmealsteamers

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