Steamed Littleneck Clams


This past week I did a guest recipe on PaleoParents.com, and I wanted to share the recipe with you folks too. This is actually an update of an old recipe that I decided to re-shoot because I was unsatisfied with the recipe’s photos. It’s amazing to see how much my photography has changed over the past three years; sometimes it’s hard to see the forest for the trees. For comparison’s sake, I’ve included the old picture at the bottom of this post. Although I’m posting all Whole30 recipes all month, this recipe isn’t technically Whole30 because it uses white wine; but it’s a guest post, so it’s exempt, right??

Lately, I’ve been on a personal quest to turn more people on to seafood. Besides the fact that it’s both delicious and full of nutrients, it can often be dead-simple to prepare. Take this recipe, for example, which requires only 15 minutes from start to finish – 5 minutes to scrub the clams, 5 minutes to prep the melted butter, and 5 minutes to steam the clams. Cooking clams at home is also much more economical than ordering them at a restaurant; you can often find and steam clams yourself for a fraction of the cost you’d pay out in town.

Clams in particular are especially nutritious. Pound-for-pound, they have more iron than beef liver, and they’re high in Vitamin B12, Vitamin A, calcium, selenium and potassium. They are an excellent source of protein, and are especially healthful when considering that they have Omega-3 fatty acids and a much lower contamination profile than other ocean-based sources of Omega-3 (like salmon). Have I convinced you yet?

Unlike other seafood, farm-raised clams (and mussels) are preferred over wild-caught clams; they are raised on ropes suspended above the sea floor, which makes them less gritty than wild clams dredged from the ocean floor. Dredging can also damage the ocean’s ecosystem.

Steamed Littleneck Clams

  • Servings: 2
  • Time: 20 mins
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

50ct littleneck clams (no larger than 2″ across)
1 cup white wine
4 tbsp melted butter or ghee
4 cloves garlic, minced
lemon wedges to serve

1. Run the clams under cool water and scrub clean with a stiff brush, discarding any that are open and won’t close when tapped on a firm surface; rinse and set aside.

2. In a stockpot, add the wine and bring to a boil on med/high heat. Gently add the clams to the boiling wine, then cover and steam until fully opened, about 5 minutes.

3. While the clams are steaming, melt the butter or ghee in a microwave and add the minced garlic. Distribute into small bowls.

4. Serve immediately with lemon wedges and cute, tiny forks if you have them. Be sure to pour the steaming liquid into your serving bowl to help the clams stay nice and warm.

I’m happy to note that the platform that hosts my website (WordPress.com) updated their coding to allow for recipe entry, like you see above. I really like it.


And here’s the picture of the same recipe, taken 3 years ago. Big difference, eh?

18 thoughts on “Steamed Littleneck Clams

  1. Was looking for some dinner inspiration and found it, thanks! We love seafood but I sometimes forget the sheer simplicity of steaming shellfish with some tasty aromatics. Off to the store!

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  2. i wish i didn’t live so far away from a grocery store/fish market that sells clams. that first picture makes me want clams ASAP!

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  3. Yum. The photos are gorgeous. I love seafood. I used to be a fish monger as an after school job in high school and I learned just how versatile all the differentv fresh fish and shellfish is. I feel like a king when in enjoying something like this!

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  4. I just discovered through blood tests that, although I thought I’ve been allergic to all seafood my entire life, I can actually have scallops, clams, and tuna. Crazy! But after finding that I really like scallops, I am ready to try clams. I purchased some yesterday and can’t wait to use this recipe for my first encounter! Thanks for making it so easy!

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  5. I love littleneck clams although they are over twice the price of mussels here in London. Shellfish in general always creates quite an occasion – it’s great to just get stuck in and enjoy with friends and family. Great photo at the top of your post btw. Best Torie

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  6. Good morning Russ,
    The Mrs and I have been in a food rut, repeating our usual same 10 easy meals. I did your littleneck clams recipe with success. She was happy. I don’t have a wire brush, so I used a new toothbrush to scrub up the clams. I didn’t have seasalt, so I used regular table salt. I soaked them for 30 mins, although next time I will soak for longer.The clams were good, but some still had a little of sand mud. What are you thoughts on rinsing the sand out of the clams AFTER they are cooked and opened up ? Would that take away from the flavor? or perhaps 2 hrs purge time next time?

    Over here in SoCal 10 large 2 inch clams came up to be $20.
    Instead of melted butter (high cholesterol) I went with olive oil, oregano, paprika, salt and cracked pepper. The paprika took over. Next time less paprika :)

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    1. If corn isn’t an issue for you, I would soak the clams in cold water with cornmeal for an hour beforehand. They’ll filter the cornmeal and spit out any remaining sand. That’s how we did it growing up, with the clams we would harvest ourselves, and it always worked well. I definitely wouldn’t rinse them after cooking!

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