A boardwalk classic, steamers couldn’t be easier to make at home and are a welcome alternative to typical barbecue fare. Be sure to set the table with a large bowl for discarded shells. The resulting broth is a delicacy all it’s own, so serve with a crusty loaf of bread for dipping.
1 cup butter
2 large cloves garlic, minced to a paste
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
2 teaspoons chopped flat leaf parsley
4 lbs steamer clams, well cleaned
1 cup dry white wine
2 cups water
In a small saucepan, melt the butter together with the garlic over medium-low heat. Turn heat to low to infuse and keep warm while preparing clams.
Inspect the clams for any missed dirt, and discard any open clams that will not close when tapped on the counter. Put all the clams into a large lidded pot that can hold them all comfortably, then pour over the wine and water. Cover and cook over high heat, shaking occasionally, until all the clams have popped open – about 10 minutes.
Remove the clams. Place a piece of cheesecloth into a strainer and pour the broth through, dividing it between several small bowls for the table. Stir the herbs into the warm butter.
To serve: Scoop the hot clams between four to six large bowls. Serve each with a small bowl of broth and a ramekin of melted butter. Pry open the shells and remove the clam, peeling back the membrane that covers the foot. Dip the steamer in broth, giving it a little swish to help remove any remaining sand, then into the butter, then eat.
Allison Robicelli is a James Beard-nominated writer, cookbook author, humorist, chef/owner of the highly-acclaimed Robicelli’s Bakery, occasional TV personality, raconteur, wife, mother, and all-around good time.
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