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Steamed Clams

Clams are one of the easiest proteins to cook. There are a few steps to follow to serve them at their best but those steps are simple. I've listed them below.

Serve the clams with spaghetti aglio olio or by themselves with thick pieces of toasted bread drizzled with olive oil.

If you are having them with pasta you'll want 12 per person but if you are having a big bowl of them with bread 24 is perfect.

A serving of pasta is 2 ounces per person. The best way to measure this is by making a circle with the tip of your index finger pressing to the inside of your thumb— roughly the size of a quarter.



12-24 little neck clams per person (see note above for amounts)

white wine (amount listed in the instructions)

garlic (amount listed in the instructions)

olive oil (amount listed in the instructions)

chopped flat parsley — about 1 Tablespoon per person

spaghetti aglio olio

spaghetti - 2 ounces per person (see note above)

1 large clove of garlic per person

olive oil -2 Tablespoons per person

chopped flat parsley — about 1 Tablespoon per person

pepperoncino, optional

Toasted crusty rustic bread drizzled in olive oil - as much as you like but about 1-2 thick slices per person

Notes and instructions for the clams:

  • Bring them home on ice and don't close the bag they are in— they need air.

  • It's best to buy the clams the day you are going to cook them but they will keep on ice and in an open bag in the refrigerator for a day.

  • Toss any chipped, damaged or tightly closed clams— there probably won't be any but just in case

  • Using the corner of a clean dish towel wash them under cold running water

  • Clean your clams of any sand and grit inside by soaking them in cold salty water. You'll need to soak them for two hours. The way to do this is to mix 2 Tablespoons of salt with 4 cups of water in a medium metal bowl. Stir to dissolve the salt, add the clams, making sure they are covered in salty water and place that bowl in the fridge. If the clams are not covered mix more water. And remember the water should be cold.

  • after 2 hours (they can also go longer, up to 10) scoop them out of the water. Any debris will be at the bottom of the bowl.

To cook the clams:

Amounts for 12 clams (about 1 pound)

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 clove of garlic, peeled and halved

3 Tablespoons white wine

Amounts for 24 clams (about 2 pounds)

2 Tablespoon olive oil

3 clove of garlic, peeled and halved

1/4 cup white wine

Amounts 48 clams (about 4 pounds)

3 Tablespoon olive oil

6 clove of garlic, peeled and halved

1/2 cup white wine

In a large dutch oven or wide pot with a lid heat the olive oil over medium heat until it begins to shimmer add the garlic. Stir for 30 seconds. Add the clams. Shake the pot a couple of times. Add the wine. Put the lid on the pot. Turn the heat up a smidge. Shake the pot, every 2-3 minutes. Cook for ten minutes. The clams are done when they open. Toss out any clams that do not open. Serve over pasta or scoop into a bowl. Either way ladle the liquid left at the bottom of your pot over the clams. It’s the best part of the dish!

If you are making the clams with pasta:

Peel and thinly slice the garlic for the pasta and peel slice the garlic in half for the for the clams.

Get your pasta water going. I like to add 1 Tablespoon of Kosher salt to the water but you can go up to 2 tablespoons. Before you drain the pasta make sure to reserve a cup of pasta water.

Make the clams and once the water starts to boil cook the pasta. You'll be cooking both dishes simultaneously but it will be fine. Stay focused.

Drain the pasta when it is al dente and reserve 1 cup of the cooking water.

Heat the olive oil oil in a large saute pan (large enough to hold the pasta) heat the olive oil over medium heat until it begins to shimmer. Add the garlic cook for a minute stirring constantly with closed cooking tongs so it does not burn. Carefully add 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Cook for 5 minutes. Add a 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt for every serving up to 1 teaspoon and no more. Add the cooked pasta, cook for about 3 minutes tossing it with the tongs, remove from heat. Add the parsley , toss again. Add the pepperoncino if you like.

To serve scoop the clams on top.


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