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Clams Are the Hands-Off Dinner Item You’re Not Making (but Should be)

Butter, wine, bread and beans — what could be bad?

Michael Graydon and Nikole Herriott

Leftover wine is a non-issue. If sealed properly, it can be consumed the following night; otherwise, it can be improvised into a quick sauce for pasta or meat. But next time, rather than viewing wine as an ingredient to get rid of, consider using it as an excuse to buy clams. The recipe for clams with green garlic butter and leftover wine in Bon Appetit contributor Alison Roman’s Dining In is proof. With clams steamed in wine and garlic, coated with butter and served alongside crusty bread and white beans (optional but strongly recommended), it’s easier and faster than it seems — and just as delicious.

Littleneck Clams with Green Garlic Butter and Leftover Wine

Serves 4

2 cups fresh parsley leaves (about 1 bunch), chopped
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
6 stalks green garlic, thinly sliced (or 3 regular garlic cloves, finely grated)
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 dry, acidic white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Blanc
3 1/2 pounds small littleneck clams, steamers or mussels, scrubbed and rinsed
1 (15-ounce) can white beans, such as cannellini, drained and rinsed (optional)
1 lemon, quartered (for serving)
Crusty bread (for serving)

Smaller clams are better here, Roman notes. “The larger, chewier ones are great for things like chowder or pasta when they are pulled out and chopped, but to slurp one from the shell, you want them to be petite and tender. Littlenecks are a great choice (again, pick the smallest ones you can find, even if that means hand-picking at the grocery store or fishmonger), but extra-small cockles would also be fun.”

1. Combine the parsley, butter and two stalks of green garlic (or one garlic clove) in a food processor. Pulse until the parsley is finely chopped and well incorporated into the butter. Alternatively, finely chop the parsley and garlic and smash into the butter using a fork. Season aggressively with salt and pepper; set aside.

2. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the remaining green garlic (or garlic) and cook, stirring occasionally, until it turns bright green (or just before it browns if using regular garlic) and has softened, about three minutes. Add the wine and cook a minute or two, just to take the edge off. Add the clams and cover. Cook, shaking the pot every now and then until the clams start to open, five to 10 minutes, depending on the size of your clams and your pot.

3. Remove the pot from the heat and add the parsley butter, shaking to make sure the butter melts and gets into each clam. Transfer the clams to a large serving bowl or divide among four bowls.

4. If using, add the beans to the pot with the clam juice and butter. Season with salt and pepper and let simmer over medium-high heat for a minute or two, just to warm through.

5. Pour the beans (if using), melted butter and clam juice from the pot over the clams and serve with lemon wedges for squeezing and bread for sopping up the juices.

Buy the Book

The recipe above appears in Dining In: Highly Cookable Recipes, by Alison Roman, published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House. Buy Now: $18

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