What's cooking in the Belmar Beachcomber's kitchen? Read more about our favorite way to prepare fresh steamed clams at home. Get some crusty bread ready!
Whether you’re preparing the Feast of Seven Fishes for Christmas Eve or hosting a backyard barbecue in the summer, fresh seafood is something that you can enjoy all year long at the Jersey Shore. One of our family’s favorite ways to cook clams at home is to steam them in white wine with butter, garlic, and Italian herbs.
This recipe for "Clams Italiano" is always a hit with dinner guests or when we take it to parties. It’s versatile, too, because it can be served as a first course with Italian bread for dipping in the garlic-studded sauce – or served as a main course over pasta (with bread on the side, of course!).
Capellini (angel hair) or linguine works especially well to turn this dish into a meal that rivals any seafood restaurant. I am partial to day-old ciabatta or semolina bread for dipping, but use what you like to sop up all the juices.
Even my friends who don't eat clams will devour the broth with some good bread!
Clams Italiano Credit: AllRecipes.com
½ cup butter (1 stick)
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups dry white wine
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
36 clams in shell, scrubbed
Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook garlic in butter briefly. Stir in wine, and season with oregano, parsley, and red pepper flakes.
Place clams in the wine mixture. Cover, and steam until all the clams have opened. Discard any that do not open.
Serve in soup bowls, and ladle broth generously over them.
Tips from the Belmar Beachcomber Blog
For faster prep, look for a small bag of peeled fresh garlic cloves in the produce aisle of your grocery store.
The clams I usually buy come 50 to a bag, so I double the ingredients to have extra broth for dipping.
Use unsalted butter.
Fresh parsley instead of dried is a plus.
Scrub your clams well, then soak them in a bowl of cold water in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes just prior to cooking. The cold-water bath will help the clams release sand and keep your sauce from being gritty.
Use white wine that you would drink, not “cooking wine” from the grocery store. An Italian pinot grigio is my go-to for this recipe.
You can steam the clams in a covered skillet on the stove top as directed – or toss everything into a large disposable foil tray, cover with foil, and cook them on the grill. Keep the lid closed and start checking for doneness after about 10 or 15 minutes.
When cooking in the foil tray, I usually cut the butter into chunks and drop it around the clams. The heat from the grill will melt the butter and soften the garlic just fine.
Baste the clams once or twice during cooking and stir them around.
The clams are done when they are open as shown in the photo below. You can hear them start to pop when they are getting close.
Extra sauce can be frozen. Add a can or two of chopped clams to make another meal.
Where To Find Fresh Clams
In the Belmar area, fresh clams are available at several local markets that are close to our Belmar beach house rental. These include:
Mr. Shrimp Seafood Market and Restaurant
1608 State Route 71
Belmar, New Jersey 07719
Klein’s Fish Market and Waterside Café
708 River Road
Belmar, New Jersey 07719
Whole Foods Market
1933 State Route 35
Wall, New Jersey 07719
RELATED: Favorite Gourmet Takeout Markets
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Recipe reprinted from AllRecipes.com. Story and photos © copyright by Christine Cardellino, owner of www.vacationinbelmar.com and publisher of the award-winning Belmar Beachcomber Blog, a travel and tourism guide for the Belmar region of the Jersey Shore. Do not copy any content (including images) without our permission. All rights reserved.