Wino Clams

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I grew up eating steamed clams in Maine on our family vacations, and love them dearly, but I don’t recall ever trying clams in wine until I moved to Missouri. My father-in-law learned that I liked clams and fixed this delicious version soon after for me – I was hooked! Clyde fixed up a nice dinner a while ago, and I grabbed my camera so I could share the deliciousness with you all. Hope you enjoy this as much as we do!

Simple, easy ingredients:
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All you need are fresh clams, butter, garlic, wine (we used our Courtois) and parsley. Plus you’ll want some sourdough (our preference) or french bread to help soak up all the clam broth goodness. We don’t measure anything, and it’s pretty hard to mess this recipe up, so don’t be afraid!

I think Clyde picked up a couple pounds of clams for this batch, but again, this recipe will work for whatever quantity you buy – just switch up your stock pot to fit the amount of clams you have. We do like to use a high quality butter when we can get it for this recipe, but regular stuff from the grocery store is lovely too. The parsley is nice, but definitely optional – leave it out if you don’t like parsley or can’t find any fresh stuff.

First step: rinse the clams! We put all the clams in a pot of salted water and let them soak for about 10-15 minutes. Then we discard that water and repeat the process once more. Discard any clams that open up during the rinsing process. Rinsing helps to get rid of the sand in the clams – this isn’t an essential step necessarily, but you’ll be dealing with a lot of grittiness in the clams when you eat them if you don’t rinse beforehand.

Mince the garlic while your clams are soaking (I think we minced about 3 cloves of garlic – we love garlic!).

Towards the end of the second clam rinse, start in on the cooking process by melting a couple tablespoons of butter in a large stockpot and then saute the garlic in the melted butter.

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Once the garlic is semi-translucent, add the wine on top. Add enough wine to completely cover the bottom of the pot in about an inch of liquid.

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Now place all the clams in the stockpot, and put the lid on the pot. Stir the clams every now and then while they are cooking. They are finished once they are completely opened up. Discard any clams that do not open. This should take around 5-10 minutes or so. Be sure to check in on them, as you don’t want to overcook the clams – they get all rubbery when overcooked. Pull out the clams in batches as they’ve opened up.

Here’s what they look like once fully cooked:
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MMMMMmmmmmmmmmm!

While the clams are cooking, chop up about 1/4 of a bunch of parsley:
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And slice up your bread:
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Once all the clams are cooked, divide up the broth left in the stockpot between a couple (or more) bowls. Divide the parsley equally between the bowls and stir the broth and parsley together. Here’s a look again at how we serve our Wino Clams:
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If you have fancy little forks, you can pull them out and use them to dig out the clams from their shells:
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Don’t let a lack of mini forks stop you from serving this dish though…regular size forks do the job well too!

Now just dip the clams in the broth/parsley bowls, and then pop them in your mouth (which by this point will probably be watering in anticipation!):
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We also love dipping our bread in the clam broth too. While we used Courtois to cook with, we ended up pouring Dry Creek in our glasses to drink with the meal. I think we might have died and gone to wine-and-food-pairing-heaven with this combo!

Clyde informed me the other day that you can only buy clams in months that have the letter ‘r’ in them….in other words, during the winter months. But that turns out to be an old wive’s tale. During cooler months, red algae is less likely to ‘bloom’. Red algae is toxic to us humans and thus in olden days, clams were harvested in winter to avoid problems. But nowadays commercial fisherman know where there are toxic blooms occurring, and do not fish in those spots. Plus everything is supposed to be tested, so you are just as safe buying clams in the summer as in the winter if you are buying in a store.

Did you make our ‘Wino’ clams? What did you think? Let me know in the comments. Cheers!

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5 Comments

  1. Carl A. Gooch
    Posted September 19, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    AARRGGHHH!!! This is lookin’ Goooooooood! I love clams or mussels. (or about anything cooked with wine.) Now if we can just get to fix them for me…..Hahaha
    Carl

  2. Carl A. Gooch
    Posted September 19, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    Excellent job with the pictures too…. now I’m really hungry!

  3. Katie
    Posted September 20, 2012 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    Thanks!

  4. Carl A. Gooch
    Posted September 26, 2012 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

    Hmmmmm…maybe you could put out a cook book of some of your favorites. Maybe which wines work best in the cooking… or which wines pair best with them.
    Just a thought,
    Carl

  5. Katie
    Posted September 27, 2012 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

    A Peaceful Bend cookbook would be pretty cool. Hopefully someday!

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