By Andrew Zimmern
Ever since my dad introduced me to clams as a kid, I was hooked. From cherrystones to razor clams, I love them all, but there’s something truly special about the Maine steamer clam. The soft-shell clams are tender, sweet and slightly briny, and they’re one of my favorite ingredients on planet earth. I like to steam the clams with wine, garlic and herbs (“a la mariniere” or in the style of the sailor) and serve bowls of them with lots of crusty bread to dip in the broth.
Maine Steamers Mariniere
- 3 pounds Maine steamers, scrubbed, rinsed and soaked in cold salted water
- 1/4 pound butter
- 1/4 cup sliced garlic
- 1/4 cup minced shallots
- 1/4 cup minced parsley
- 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns, slightly crushed
- 8 ounces dry white wine
- 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1 loaf crusty bread, for serving
Place the butter in a large pot over low heat.
When it begins to foam add the garlic, shallot, parsley, peppercorns. Sweat for 2-3 minutes until aromatic and the garlic and shallots have sweetened and glazed. Add the wine and simmer for several minutes to reduce by about half.
Raise heat to high and add the steamers. Place a lid on the pot and cook for several minutes.
Every minute or so, laying a towel across the top of the pot, grip the sides of the pot, press your thumbs on top of the lid and toss the clams in the pot to rotate them from the bottom of the pan to the top.
Keep doing this until clams have all opened.
Season with the lemon juice. Divide the clams into bowls and spoon broth over the clams leaving as much grit as you can in bottom of the pot.
Serve with the crusty bread and extra melted butter on the side.