It is simple and fast to steam clams on the stovetop in a flavorful broth.
Clams Steamed in White Wine
SERVES 4 to 6 FAST
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS It doesn’t take a lot of embellishment to turn fresh clams into an exceptional dish, but as we found, it does take proper technique. We wanted a simple preparation that would complement the clams’ natural briny flavor without overshadowing it. Equally important, we wanted them perfectly cooked; clams quickly turn from tender to tough and rubbery. To flavor our clams, we developed a quick broth made with white wine, shallots, garlic, and bay leaf. As the clams steamed in the flavorful liquid, they opened up and released their juices into the pot. A drizzle of olive oil, parsley, and lemon finished the dish.
1½ cups dry white wine
3 shallots, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 bay leaf
4 pounds littleneck clams, scrubbed
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1. Bring wine, shallots, garlic, and bay leaf to simmer in Dutch oven over high heat and cook for 3 minutes. Add clams, cover, and cook, stirring twice, until clams open, 4 to 8 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer clams to serving bowl, discarding any that refuse to open.
2. Off heat, whisk oil into cooking liquid until combined. Pour sauce over clams and sprinkle with parsley. Serve with lemon wedges.
NOTES FROM THE TEST KITCHEN
Buying Mussels and Clams
For the best flavor and texture, mussels and clams should be as fresh as possible. They should smell clean, not sour or sulfurous, and the shells should look moist. Look for tightly closed mussels and clams—avoid any that are broken or sitting in a puddle of water. Some shells may gape slightly, but they should close when they are tapped. Discard any that won’t close; they may be dead and should not be eaten. Most mussels and clams today are farmed and free of grit. Soft-shell clams, however, almost always contain a lot of sand and should be submerged in a large bowl of cold water and drained several times before cooking. Both clams and mussels need to be scrubbed and rinsed before cooking; simply use a brush to scrub away any sand trapped in the outer shell. Some mussels may also need to be debearded. The best way to store mussels and clams is in the refrigerator in a colander of ice set over a bowl; discard any water that accumulates so that the shellfish are never submerged.