Fresh meaty clams, butter, garlic, and a crisp white wine combine in this dish for what I think of as heaven in a bowl.
This dish makes me seriously want to be a mermaid for a day. (my family nick-named this dish Mermaid Broth) And what’s even more fun is that this impressive enough for company dish is surprisingly easy and fast — 10 minutes from heating the pan to ladling into bowls.
I often make this dish with a combination of clams, mussels, and shrimp.* But clams are the foundation because of the beautiful broth they create as their juices mingle with the butter, garlic and white wine. Clams are a great seafood choice as they are sustainably produced, relatively inexpensive, and loaded with nutrition.
Here you see the little neck clams after just six minutes of simmering in the pan. They are ready when opened up like this.
Just add crusty rolls and a green salad for a meal fit for mermaid royalty.
Clams with Wine and Garlic
serves 2 – 3
2 LB live, whole little neck or Manila clams, rinsed
2 TB unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, crushed
pinch red pepper flakes
5 oz dry white wine (use a crisp, dry inexpensive wine)
2 TB chopped fresh parsley
crusty rolls for serving
In a medium size sauce pan with a tight fitting lid, melt butter over medium heat. When the butter is melted, sauté the garlic and red pepper flakes for a few seconds, then add the clams and white wine. Crank the heat up to high and cover the pan. Set the timer for five minutes, then peek inside the pan. When they are done, the clams will open up. If needed, give the dish another minute or two. When all the clams are open, the dish is done. (if there are one or two unopened clams and the others have all opened, discard the unopened clams. Healthy live clams will be tightly closed when raw, then open up when they cook. A dead clam won’t open when cooked.)
Ladle into bowls, sprinkle with parsley, and serve with crusty rolls and a fresh green salad. We eat the clams, and soak up the broth with the rolls. Add a class of dry white wine for a meal fit for any beautiful Merfolk.
*if you’d like to replace some of the clams with mussels, that’s great. I love mussels! Just start with 8 oz clams per person, and fill in with a few mussels and perhaps raw shell-on shrimp per person. Since clams take longer to cook, add the mussels and shrimp three minutes after adding the wine. Like clams, healthy mussels are closed when raw and open up when cooked. Shrimp turn pink when cooked.
**An observant cook will notice the omission of salt in this savory recipe. This is not by accident. Clams contribute plenty of salt naturally.