Once I made clams for the first time, I realized I had been missing out for years. These things cook in just 7 minutes? And they let you know when they’re done by opening?! It doesn’t get any easier than that. Unfortunately most of the recipes out there contain lots of citrus and wine, two potential migraine diet triggers according to Heal Your Headache. Luckily with this recipe for littleneck clams in a wine-free herbed butter broth, you’ll hardly notice they’re sitting this one out.
Prepping Your Clams
The hardest part about clams is getting them prepared for cooking. You can typically find good littleneck clams at your local fish store or in Whole Foods. Your fishmonger should know this, but do not put them in a plastic bag that’s closed up. They’re alive and need to breathe. If you’re not using them right away, I like to keep them in a bowl in the fridge or on ice. I also like to buy these the day of, just to make sure they’re as fresh as possible. To check if they’re alive, they should either be closed or should close in a few seconds after you give them a little tap on your counter. If there is a large chip in one or if it doesn’t close, just discard it to be safe.
To clean them, just scrub them with a bristle brush to remove excess grit and sand. Then gently set them in a bowl of fresh, cold water. Leave them submerged for about 15-20 minutes. Then carefully pull them out (if you dump them then you’ll just pour all the grit/sand they expelled back on them!), and place them on a towel. While they’re submerged, you can prep your pot and start the broth. The whole thing comes together in under 30 minutes!
Clams let you know when they’re done by opening! If you find one or two aren’t opening with the others, give them another minute or two to simmer. Sometimes if I give them a tap with a spoon, they’ll open. If they don’t open after all of this, just discard them. Typically I end up throwing away 2-3 clams in each batch I get.
These littleneck clams are so quick, easy, and delicious. They cook in under 10 minutes! The broth is made without citrus and is non-alcoholic.
- 2-2.5 lbs littleneck clams
- 3 tbsp butter or ghee (for a whole30 or paleo option)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 shallots, peeled and chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
- 1 - 1/4 cup broth * See my instant pot chicken broth for an easy recipe!
- 1/2 cup loosely packed parsley leaves
- 1 - 1/2 tbsp chopped chives
- 2 tsp white vinegar
Make sure your clams are stored in a cool place and are able to breathe. Scrub clams under water and place into a large bowl with ice cold water. Discard any with large chips or that do not close with a little "tap" on your counter. Allow them to sit for 15-20 minutes to expel any extra grit/sand. Carefully remove each one (do not dump) and place on a towel.
While clams are sitting in water, prepare a large, heavy bottomed dutch oven or pot with cover by melting butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add shallots and saute for about 1 minute. Then add garlic and saute a minute longer.
Add broth and bring to a simmer. Then carefully add in clams. Cover the pot with a lid and simmer for 7-10 minutes. Clams will open when they're done. If one does not open, give it a little longer to simmer. Throw out if it continues to not open.
Remove clams from the pot with a slotted spoon and place into a big bowl. Meanwhile turn the heat up a little bit to get a strong simmer going. Simmer the broth an extra 4 minutes or so, until it's reduced enough to your liking. Pour the reduced broth over the clams.
Top with fresh herbs and vinegar, which will give it the acidity you miss from wine or citrus. DO NOT ADD SALT - the clams should be salty enough as is. Serve immediately. Bread is a really great idea here (unless doing a paleo or whole30 option) to sop up all that butter broth!