Because of some misunderstanding about our orders, our favorite fish monger wrongly delivered to our house 1 kg of fresh clams. While I love these shellfish, I wasn’t ready to serve them again, not so soon after our last clam dinner just a few days ago.
What to do with the clams? Storing them wasn’t an option. I had to cook them the same day or they might spoil.
Leafing through my kitchen files, I found an old recipe for clams with garlic butter sauce. Luckily I happened to have all the other ingredients on hand (parsley, paprika, white wine, etc.). And so for dinner that night, it was clams again, but with a different flavor profile. This time, instead of clams with chorizo (a DIY recipe in the July 16 issue), these clams are empowered with garlic, butter, parsley and a delightful twist of lemon.
This can be a first course or a side dish, but if you serve it with crusty bread, it can be a main meal. The bread is good for sopping up the delicious broth.
Garlic Butter Clams
1 kg clams
Water, for cleaning the clams
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 head garlic, chopped
¼ c butter
3 stalks spring onions
1 tsp chili flakes
½ tsp paprika
1 c chicken broth
½ c white wine
¼ c chopped fresh parsley leaves
To serve: Lemon wedges
Check that all the clams are tightly closed (discard those that are open). Wash the clams well under fresh running water, scrubbing the shells with a brush to remove any sand or dirt.
Put the clams in a large pan and pour in enough water to fully immerse them almost completely. This is to make the clams spit out any remaining sand inside their shells. Set aside for one to two hours in a cool place or in the refrigerator.
When ready to cook: Drain the clams and wash them again under running water to remove any remaining sand. Set aside.
In a large casserole, heat the olive oil to low then sauté the garlic until a light golden brown. Add the butter and when it starts melting, sauté the spring onions. Season with the chili flakes and paprika. Pour in the chicken broth and stir for a few minutes. Turn up the heat to medium. Add the white wine and let simmer for a few more minutes so the alcohol evaporates.
Stir in the prepared clams. Cover the pan and let simmer until the clams open. Squeeze in the juice of one lemon and sprinkle with parsley. Before serving, check that all the clams have opened.
Discard those that don’t open. Serve hot with lemon wedges and if desired, with crusty bread. Makes three to four servings.