These Clams in White Wine Sauce Recipe are made with littleneck clams, white wine, thyme, garlic, butter, and lemons.
This might be one of my favorite summer dishes especially if you down it with a nice dry white wine. This is an exceptionally light meal and pairs well with a light, lemon pasta. We have been quarantined in Florida and I am totally embracing the seafood!
- What are Clams in White Wine Sauce?
- Why you will love Clams in White Wine Sauce
- Clams in White Wine Sauce Recipe Ingredients
- How to make Clams in White Wine Sauce
- What to serve with Clams in White Wine Sauce
- How to clean clams?
- Clams in White Wine Sauce Recipe Variations
- How to store Clams in White Wine Sauce
- Clams in White Wine Sauce Recipe Top tips
- Clams in White Wine Sauce Recipe
- Food safety
What are Clams in White Wine Sauce?
Why you will love Clams in White Wine Sauce
Clams in White Wine Sauce Recipe Ingredients
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make this. The exact measurements are listed in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
- Littleneck clams
- Salted butter
- Thyme leaves
- White wine
See recipe card for quantities.
How to make Clams in White Wine Sauce
In a deep saucepan and on medium heat, add the butter and wait it to melt. Add the garlic and the thyme leaves and cook until the garlic is fragrant, like 1-2 minutes.
Pour in the white wine and turn to high heat. Bring to a boil and when it does, add the clams and juice of 1 lemon.
Steam for 10-15 minutes, until the clams open. Turn the heat off.
Toss the clams that do not open and taste the sauce and add more lemon juice into the clams if you wish. Garnish with more thyme.
Hint: Make sure to have the heat on high when steaming so the clams open up and the white wine slowly evaporates.
What to serve with Clams in White Wine Sauce
- Crusty Bread: Serve the clams with slices of crusty bread or a baguette to soak up the delicious sauce. The bread helps absorb the flavorful broth and adds a satisfying texture to the meal.
- Pasta: Cook a simple pasta, such as linguine or spaghetti, and toss it with the clams and their white wine sauce. This turns the dish into a more substantial and satisfying main course.
- Roasted Potatoes: Serve roasted potatoes as a side dish alongside the clams. The crispy exterior and soft interior of the potatoes pair well with the briny clams and complement the flavors of the white wine sauce.
- Steamed Vegetables: Accompany the clams with a side of steamed vegetables, such as broccoli, asparagus, or green beans. The vibrant and fresh vegetables add a healthy and refreshing element to the meal.
- Salad: Prepare a light and refreshing salad with mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, and a tangy vinaigrette dressing. The crisp salad provides a contrast to the rich flavors of the clams.
Clams: You can use manila or littleneck clams for this recipe. Manila clams are smaller than littleneck clams, but both are delicious.
Butter: I used salted stick butter although you can use unsalted butter and control the salt level yourself.
Garlic: I would recommend using fresh garlic but minced garlic from a jar works as well.
White Wine: I would recommend a cheap dry white wine - definitely not sweet wine. If you do not wish to use white wine, you can use vegetable broth.
Thyme: I love garnishing all my plates. The thyme also adds to the flavor of each clam. I chopped them up and added them at the end for a touch of color and flavor.
How to clean clams?
The best way to clean the clams is to let them soak in fresh, cold water for 20 minutes to 3 hours. The clams will breathe the water and eject any salt or debris there might be inside. After soaking them, run them under cold water and with a brush, scrub the each shell to get any dirt left on them.
Clams in White Wine Sauce Recipe Variations
- Spicy Clams in White Wine Sauce: Add a kick of heat by incorporating red pepper flakes or diced chili peppers into the sauce. This variation adds a spicy element to the dish, balancing well with the brininess of the clams.
- Creamy Clams in White Wine Sauce: For a richer and creamier sauce, add a splash of heavy cream or a dollop of crème fraîche to the white wine sauce. This variation adds a velvety texture and depth of flavor to the dish.
- Herb-infused Clams in White Wine Sauce: Introduce aromatic herbs such as thyme, rosemary, or tarragon to the sauce while cooking. The herbs infuse the dish with their fragrant flavors and complement the clams and wine.
- Tomato-based Clams in White Wine Sauce: Incorporate diced tomatoes or tomato paste into the white wine sauce to create a tangy and slightly acidic twist. The tomatoes add a vibrant color and an additional layer of flavor to the dish.
- Large pot or Dutch oven: A large pot or Dutch oven is necessary for cooking the clams. Choose a pot with a lid that can accommodate the clams and provide enough space for them to open up while cooking.
- Strainer or colander: A strainer or colander is needed to rinse and drain the clams before cooking them. It helps remove any debris or sand that may be present on the clams' shells.
- Wooden spoon or spatula: A wooden spoon or spatula is handy for stirring the clams and white wine sauce during cooking. It allows you to gently toss the clams and ensure they are evenly coated in the flavorful sauce.
- Chef's knife: A chef's knife is useful for chopping garlic, shallots, or other aromatics that you may use in the white wine sauce. It helps in preparing the ingredients for the recipe.
- Cutting board: A cutting board provides a safe and stable surface for chopping and preparing ingredients. Choose a cutting board that is large enough to accommodate the ingredients and easy to clean.
- Lid or cover: A lid or cover for the pot is essential to trap the steam and heat, allowing the clams to open up and cook in the white wine sauce.
- Serving dish: Transfer the cooked clams in white wine sauce to a serving dish or individual plates for presentation.
How to store Clams in White Wine Sauce
- Separate the clams from the sauce: If possible, separate the clams from the sauce before storing. This helps prevent the clams from becoming overly saturated in the sauce and losing their texture.
- Refrigeration: Transfer the leftover clams and sauce into an airtight container. Place the container in the refrigerator promptly, preferably within two hours of cooking. The cool temperature of the refrigerator slows down bacterial growth, ensuring the clams remain safe to consume.
- Consume within two days: Clams in White Wine Sauce are best consumed within two days of preparation. As time passes, the quality and taste of the clams may deteriorate. It's recommended to consume them as soon as possible for the best dining experience.
- Reheating: To reheat the stored Clams in White Wine Sauce, gently warm them in a saucepan over low to medium heat. Avoid overcooking the clams, as they can become rubbery. Stir occasionally to ensure even heating.
- Discard any spoiled clams: Before reheating or serving the clams, inspect them individually. Discard any clams that have not opened during the initial cooking process or have an off-putting odor. Only consume clams that are fully open after reheating.
- Proper storage temperature: Ensure your refrigerator maintains a temperature below 40°F (4°C). This temperature range helps preserve the freshness and quality of the clams.
Clams in White Wine Sauce Recipe Top tips
- Choose fresh and live clams: It's important to start with fresh clams to ensure the best flavor and quality. Look for clams that are tightly closed or ones that close when lightly tapped. Avoid clams with cracked or damaged shells or those that do not close at all, as they may be dead and not suitable for consumption.
- Rinse and soak the clams: Before cooking, rinse the clams under cold running water to remove any surface dirt or sand. Soak them in a bowl of cold water for about 20 minutes to help purge any sand or grit from the shells. This step helps ensure a cleaner and grit-free final dish.
- Use a flavorful white wine: Choose a dry white wine that you enjoy drinking to add depth and flavor to the sauce. A good-quality white wine complements the briny sweetness of the clams. Avoid sweet or heavily oaked wines, as they can overpower the delicate flavors of the clams.
- Don't overcook the clams: Overcooking clams can make them tough and rubbery. They cook quickly and only need a few minutes to open up. As soon as the clams open, they are done. Discard any clams that do not open after cooking, as they may be unsafe to eat.
- Finish with fresh herbs and a squeeze of lemon: Just before serving, sprinkle fresh herbs like parsley, cilantro, or chives over the clams. The herbs add freshness and aroma to the dish. A squeeze of fresh lemon juice brightens the flavors and balances the richness of the sauce.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove