A Well-Traveled Japanese Favorite
The combination of sake, soy and butter is one that’s worth experimenting with. This dish is a well-traveled Japanese go-to favorite. It’s the most basic and often replicated izakaya clam recipe that I can think of. You’ve probably tasted it and not realized what the magical thrill ride was—it’s the soy and butter. It’s fast and easy, and paired with a bowl of short-grain rice and some fresh shiso—or shiso-based furikake (rice seasoning)—it’s one of my favorite simple weeknight dinners.
Manila Clams with Soy Butter
- 1/2 cup sake
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce (this is the best soy sauce around)
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- One 1 1/2-inch piece of peeled fresh ginger, cut into thin matchsticks
- 2 dried hot red chiles
- 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
- 2 pounds Manila clams, scrubbed
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
- Minced scallions, for garnish
In a large saucepan, combine the sake, soy sauce, sugar, ginger, chiles and garlic and bring just to a boil, whisking to dissolve the sugar. Add the clams, cover and cook over high heat, shaking the pan occasionally, until the clams open, 3 to 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the clams to shallow bowls; discard the chiles and any clams that do not open.
Add the butter to the saucepan and cook over moderate heat, whisking constantly, until incorporated, about 2 minutes. Season the sauce lightly with salt, then ladle over the clams and garnish with minced scallions; serve right away.
Photograph by Madeleine Hill.