Posts Tagged ‘white wine’

Clam Chowder with Steamers

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009


For my money, steamers are the tastiest clams.  Their flavor is delicate and they are the perfect size for clam chowder.  Plus, the most fun you can have cooking is steaming the little creatures and watching them pop open.  Also, I find digging (raking really) steamer clams to be a pleasurable experience.  You pull your rake through the sand and feel the clink of the shell against your rake.  Pick it up, rinse it off, and add it to your bucket.  Contrast this experience with digging for the larger clams such as butter clams and gapers:  using a heavy shovel, you dig down about a foot or two, get down on your knees, stick your arm down into the black, muddy hole up to your elbow, and just maybe you find a clam there.  Then the clams still have to be washed, shucked, and chopped, before they are added to the chowder.  Never mind the fact that you end up getting really, really dirty.  I devised this recipe so that I could have delicious clam chowder and still remain dainty and (mostly) clean.

Ingredients for Steamed Clams

  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 1/2 pounds steamer clams (manila, littleneck, or cherrystone)
  • 1/2 c. chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 c. white wine
  • 2 Tbs. butter
  • 1 lemon, zested


  1. Add olive oil to a large skillet with a cover.  When oil is warm add shallots and garlic, saute until shallots are soft.
  2. Add wine and bring to a simmer.
  3. Add clams, cover and simmer for about 6 minutes.  Start lifting the cover and checking for open clams at about 5 minutes.  Remove clams to a large bowl as they open.  Note:  It is important that you stay with the clams and check them frequently.  Over-cooked clams have a texture not unlike rubber.
  4. Pull the clams from their shell and discard the shells.  Pour the liquid from the skillet over the clams, cover and refrigerate.

Ingredients for the Chowder

  • 6 slices of thick-cut bacon, medium diced
  • 1 c. chopped onions
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 4 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 pound white potatoes, peeled and medium-diced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 Tbs. fresh thyme, chopped
  • 2 dashes Tabasco sauce
  • 1/2 c. flour
  • 1 c. heavy cream
  • 2 c. clam juice
  • 2 1/2 pounds steamed clams
  • 2 Tbs. finely chopped parsley
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper


  1. Add bacon to a large soup pot and fry until crisp.  Add onions, celery, and carrots.  Saute until the vegetables start to wilt.
  2. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper.  Add the bay leaves and thyme.  Stir in the flour and cook 2 minutes.
  3. Stir in the clam juice and add the potatoes.  Bring the liquid up to a boil and reduce to a simmer.
  4. Simmer the mixture until the potatoes are fork tender, about 12 minutes.  Add the heavy cream and bring up to a simmer.
  5. Turn the heat very low and add the steamed clams to the chowder.  (Note:  Add some or all of the steaming liquid to the chowder, depending on the consistency desired.)  Add the Tabasco sauce, parsley and salt and pepper if needed.  Serve immediately.