Clams the Sailor’s Way

Recipe by: Encarna Mendez

Source: Food and Wine Magazine

1 pound clams



What’s my inspiration?

The first time I ate clams was in college.  I didn’t have strong aspirations back then to try new foods like I do now.  Pizza, ramen noodles. mac & cheese and the school cafeteria were the standards back then and good enough for me.   However, my friend Shaina’s dad would drive down from Fargo to the Twin Cities for work and take her out for dinner.  Every once in a while, I was lucky enough to tag along.  We would go to fun and exciting restaurants that a college kid could not normally afford, or at least not me.  Shaina’s dad would order clams at a restaurant we went to called the The Pickled Parrot (no longer in existence).  The first time he ordered them, I was apprehensive.  But after a little encouragement, I remember trying them and instantly liked them.  I graduated from college in 2002 and don’t think I had clams again until about 3 years ago when my husband and I ordered them at the Oceanaire on our 1st anniversary.  These tasted even more amazing than I remembered.

My mission was to make them at home and I was lucky…the first recipe I tried was outstanding.  Yet again, Food & Wine magazine came through with flying colors.  This recipe was super fast, easy and cheep to make. The clams at Coastal Seafoods were only $3.99/lb and a pound would serve 2-4 people.

Go ahead, give it a try!


Saute Oni



  • I didn’t have saffron on hand so I just skipped that and it was still great.   I can only imagine that saffron would add another layer of flavor.
  • I used claim juice, it was easier to find than fish stock
  • I used a white wine I had on hand, I had no clue where to find Albariño and I didn’t have a “dry white wine”.
  • Try this dish with Braised Halibut with Mushrooms and Shrimp”

What you need:

  • Pinch of saffron threads
  • 3/4 cup fish stock or bottled clam juice
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup Albariño or other dry white wine
  • 3 dozen littleneck clams, scrubbed
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Crusty bread, for serving

What you do:

Sauce before clam



  • In a glass measuring cup, crumble the saffron threads into the fish stock and let stand for 10 minutes. (I skipped this step since I didn’t use saffron)
  • In a large pot, heat the olive oil. Add the minced garlic and diced onion and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until the vegetables are softened, about 4 minutes. Stir in the flour until incorporated. Add the saffron-infused fish stock and Albariño and bring to a simmer, stirring, until thickened. Add the clams, cover and cook, shaking the pot, until the clams open, about 6 minutes. Discard any clams that do not open. Spoon the clams into bowls. Season the Albariño sauce with salt and pepper, pour it over the clams and serve them with crusty bread.


3 thoughts on “Clams the Sailor’s Way

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