Mar 3, 2017

Clams in White Wine Sauce with Serrano Garlic Butter

Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
These white wine steamed clams are served drizzled with rich, spicy serrano and garlic butter served with bread for dipping.

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Clams always make me think of summer at home in New Jersey – everyone gathered around on our patio outside and my dad taking the clams off the grill and passing them around for everyone to share. It’s one of those smells that transports me. I know it’s weird for seafood to be a comforting smell but for me it is.

Steaming clams in white wine makes for an easy and quick summer dinner. Chopped serrano peppers are simmered with garlic in butter to create the perfect spicy drizzle over the clams. Serve with plenty of grilled bread for dipping in the sauce!

Clams in White Wine Sauce with Serrano Garlic Butter and Grilled Bread

Tips for Buying and Cooking with Clams

When you are buying clams, look for the smaller ones because they aren’t as tough and are ideal for steaming. Make sure clams are thoroughly scrubbed and cleaned before use. Prior to cooking add the clams to a large bowl of salted ice water. They will quickly expel the extra grit they are holding in the shell. Pair the clams with grilled crusty bread for dipping in the leftover broth.

If a clamshell is open or cracked before being cooked, be sure to toss it– it means the clam is already dead and is therefore decomposing. Similarly toss any that are still closed after cooking.

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Key Ingredients in This Recipe

  • Clams – I use smaller, more tender littleneck or steamer clams rather than tougher big clams in this recipe. 
  • Serrano – Serrano peppers are long, bright green peppers similar in flavor to jalapeños but pack about five times the punch. While jalapeños range between 2,000 to 5,00 Scoville units, serranos are between 5,000 and 15,000 Scoville units. If you can’t find serrano pepper, substitute jalapeños.
  • Garlic – I always use fresh cloves of garlic, the pre-minced jars of garlic don’t taste the same. It loses a lot of the powerful garlic flavor when it’s jarred. This is because it has been soaked in water for a long period of time. Peeling garlic only takes a bit. As the garlic is sautéed the flavor mellows so it’s not very pungent but adds a base flavor.
Clams in White Wine Sauce with Serrano Garlic Butter and Grilled Bread

How to Make Clams in White Wine Sauce with Serrano Garlic Butter

  1. Add clams to pot. Heat a large pot over medium heat, add the white wine and bring to a boil then add the clams.
  2. Steam the clams. Cover the pot and steam the clams until they open, about 6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon transfer the clams to a large serving bowl.
  3. Make the serrano garlic butter. Heat a small saucepan over medium-low heat, add the butter and allow to melt. Add the garlic and Serrano, and cook, stirring frequently for about 2 minutes.
  4. Assemble and serve. Remove the pot from heat and drizzle the butter over the steamed clams. Squeeze the lemon juice over the top and garnish with cilantro. Serve with grilled bread.
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Other Recipes to Try

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Clams in White Wine Sauce with Serrano Garlic Butter

Clams in White Wine Sauce with Serrano Garlic Butter

Print Pin
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 pounds scrubbed littleneck clams
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 small Serrano pepper, deseeded and finely diced
  • ½ medium lemon
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • Grilled crusty bread, for serving

Instructions:

  • Heat a large pot over medium heat, add the white wine and bring to a boil then add the clams.
  • Cover the pot and steam the clams until they open, about 6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon transfer the clams to a large serving bowl.
  • Heat a small saucepot over medium-low heat, add the butter and allow to melt. Add the garlic and Serrano, and cook, stirring frequently for about 2 minutes.
  • Remove the pot from heat and drizzle the butter over the steamed clams. Squeeze the lemon juice over the top and garnish with cilantro. Serve with grilled bread.

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