Clams are usually steamed with some white wine, garlic and fresh herbs. Sometimes you can add sausages like chorizo for a Spanish version or linguisa for a Portuguese version. However, for a first course, I usually like to to stay away from adding meat. Besides, with these Portuguese steamed clams, you’ll want them to shine with white wine, garlic and whole lot of cilantro!
You’ll need to take some time soaking, re-soaking and adding a little bit of salt to the water to help remove the dirt from inside of them. If you don’t have time for that, I highly recommend substituting mussels for this recipe. Just whatever you do – do not forget the crunchy bread to soak up the delicious white wine, garlic and cilantro broth!
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- 1 bunch of little neck clams or about 6-8 for each person
- 1/2 cup of crisp white wine
- 3-4 cloves of garlic
- 1 cup cup of fresh, chopped cilantro
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Take the clams out of the bag and check to see if any of them dead. Most should be closed. If there are some open, place on the counter and tap them. If they close, they are alive, if not, they are dead and you should toss them.
- Place the clams in a non-reactive bowl with water covering them. Add in a teaspoon of salt. Let sit for about an hour. Drain and rinse. Then cover again with just plain water. Let sit and then repeat with salt water and plain water one more time. This should remove all the grit from inside.
- Once it's time to steam the clams, take out a sauté pan with a lid. Ideally one that can fit all the clams in it. Heat the pan to medium.
- While it's heating, roughly chop the cloves of garlic. Place in the pan and sauté for a minute or two. Just make sure they don't get any color on them. Once fragrant, add in the wine and the clams. Cover and turn the heat up. Let steam for a few minutes and then start checking on them. Once one of them opens, add in the butter and chopped fresh cilantro. Then start pulling the clams out as they open. Once the open ones are pulled, cover and repeat until they are all open. Pour the sauce over them. Serve with crusty bread.