This recipe for Steamed Clams is from "Off The Hook: Reflections & Recipes from an Old Salt" by Roger Fitzgerald. Recipes by Susan Volland (Ten Speed Press). Bacon, onion, garlic, and beer flavor the steamed-clams sauce. Water or chicken stock may be substituted for the beer, but do use the beer if at all possible. It lends incredible flavor. The beauty of this dish is that it comes together in about 30 minutes.
Manila clams are called for in this recipe. Originally from the shores of China, they now grow in the wild in the Pacific Northwest (where they're sometimes called Seattle clams), and also are farmed along with other bivalves like mussels and oysters. They are considered to be among the sweetest and smallest hard-shell clams, usually less than 3 inches across. Manila clams need only about 3 to 5 minutes to steam open, while other varieties, like the Pacific Littleneck clam, which is a good substitute for the Manila, requires longer cooking.
- 4 slices bacon, chopped
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 3 pounds
- Manila clams, scrubbed well
- 1 cup beer, water or chicken stock
- Fry 4 slices chopped bacon in a medium pot until soft and golden, about 4 minutes. Add 1 small chopped onion and 2 cloves chopped garlic and continue cooking until the bacon is nicely browned and the onion is tender, about 4 minutes longer.
- Stir in 3 pounds well-scrubbed Manila clams and add 1 cup beer or water or chicken stock. Cover the pot and steam the clams for 3 to 5 minutes, until they open. Discard any clams that do not open.
- Stir gently to mix with the bacon, garlic, and onion, and serve immediately.
Recipe Source: "Off The Hook: Reflections & Recipes from an Old Salt" by Roger Fitzgerald. Recipes by Susan Volland (Ten Speed Press). Reprinted with permission.
More Steamed Clam Recipes
While steaming is the preferred method of cooking most clams, you will also find them shucked and eaten raw, deep-fried, baked on the half shell or slipped into chowders and stews. Whatever method you choose, the key is not to overcook them. Otherwise, you'll be eating a piece of old shoe leather. Here are more steamed clam recipes.