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manilla clams

Sassy Side dishes Seafood

My Favorite Steamers

Spring, summer, fall or winter, these are my favorite steamers!

On July 4th the sun finally arrived.   It was a glorious day.  We have a joke around these parts, summer begins day after 4th of July because that’s usually when our sunny weather arrives.  This year we got summer one day early.  A happy day. 
I love spending as much time as possible (without doing yard work) outside in this beautiful weather.  So dinner ends up being served outside on the deck most summer nights.  Sounds nice doesn’t it?  Well… it’s also because with the sunshine comes warm weather, and it usually gets to warm to eat in the house.  My little mountain cottage did not come with central AC.  Not that we’d need it.
Yesterday, I spotted fresh littleneck clams at Gemini Fish Market. That was it, my mind was made up.  We were having steamers for dinner.  What a simple and simply delicious dinner to serve outside on the deck.  I paired the yummy steamers with warm rosemary artisan bread for dunking and then grilled some romaine halves for a little greens with our dinner.  

Grilled Romaine Salad

Yep, got to have those greens with dinner or I’ll be sure to hear Ranger Craig say… do we have any greens with dinner?   And you all thought he only asked for sauce. 🙂
My Favorite Steamers

Serves 2 (can be doubled)

Substitution: Wine can be substituted with seafood stock, fish stock or clam juice.


2-3 lbs Fresh littleneck or manilla clams, washed, scrubbed and rinsed in cool water

2 tablespoons butter

1 small onion, small diced or 2 medium leeks chopped

8-10 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1-2 sprigs fresh thyme

1 sprig fresh oregano

1 sprig fresh parsley

1 tablespoon chopped chives (optional)

Pinch of red pepper flakes

1 cup dry white wine

Salt and pepper to taste

Squeeze of fresh lemon


In a large stock pot heat the butter over medium high heat until melted and frothy.  Add the onion and sauté until translucent and then add the garlic and sauté a minute longer. 

Toss in the fresh herbs, red pepper flakes, sprinkle in a little salt and pepper and then add the clams.  Coat the clams with the herb mixture and then add the white wine.  Let the wine come to a boil, and then turn the heat down to low and cover with a lid. 

Let the clams steam in the broth for about 5 minutes then lift the lid to check the clams.  When all the clams have opened they are done.  It can take 5-10 minutes to cook all the clams, depending on the size of the stock pot.  Toss them around in the broth and check for seasoning.  Pour them into a large serving bowl and top with a squeeze of fresh lemon. 

Serve with crusty fresh bread for dipping. 

Options:  Add in 1/2 lb of chorizo with the onions and garlic.  It’ll really kick up the spicy flavors so you won’t need to add the red pepper flakes.

Add in whatever fresh herbs you like.  Lemongrass would be nice, and maybe rosemary.  But be careful with rosemary as it can be overpowering to the broth. 

Recipe Idea: Another idea is to serve these clams over a spaghetti or linguini pasta.  My daughter likes to take a few tablespoons of melted butter and pan sear about 1/4 cup bread crumbs in the butter until toasty.  Then she mixes in her cooked spaghetti and pours the clams and broth over the buttered spaghetti!  Divine!!!  Top with grated parmesan and fresh chopped parsley.


Spring Steamers

With four busy schedules, two terrier’s (dubbed “The Burly Bennett Boys”, and for good reason), garden’s that constantly need weeding or clean up of some sort, not to mention our ongoing house renovations, life can seem chaotic.  So, when Ranger Craig and I find ourselves on our own for dinner without the rest of the Bennett crew, we often contemplate eating out at one of our new local restaurants or one of our favorite places in Seattle.  I do emphasize the word “contemplate” because that’s usually how far we get to actually eating out.  Especially when the weather isn’t so spring like and it feels more of a chore to get out than stay in. 

We wanted to keep dinner simple, fresh and enjoyable.  For Ranger Craig and I that’s usually some sort of seafood, a beautiful bottle of white wine and a warm artisan bread or crostini.  Steamers with sautéed leeks, garlic, fresh herbs and white wine sounded perfect!  A simple dinner that was quick and delicious.  

I’ve blogged this recipe previously and after enjoying the steamers once again, I just had to give it a second posting.  If you love clams, you’ll love this simple and delicious recipe.  And… I just had to include a few photos of the famous “Burly Bennett Boys”, our in house comediens and chasers of UPS delivery people! 

Happy Cooking!

Serves 2


2-3lbs Manilla Clams (or any small clams from your neck of the woods), washed

2 leeks, chopped (white to light green part), or substitute with one large shallot or medium onion

6-8 (or more if you love garlic!) cloves garlic, chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup assorted chopped fresh herbs (Italian parsley, thyme, lemon thyme, rosemary, oregano, chive)

1 cup dry white wine

Salt and Pepper to taste

1 lemon


In a stock pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat.  Saute the leeks and garlic for 2-3 minutes until wilted but not browned.  Stir in most the fresh herbs, reserving a tablespoon for garnish.  Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper.

Turn the heat to medium high and toss the clams with the onions.  Add the white wine and bring to a boil.  Cover with a tight-fitting lid and turn the heat down to low and let the clams steam in the broth. 

Once all the clams have opened, about five minutes or so, toss the clams in the broth and season the broth to taste.  Place the clams in a large bowl and squeeze fresh lemon over the top.  Garnish with the remaining fresh herbs.  Serve with warm crusty bread for soaking up the delicious broth!


OPTION:  For something a little spicy, add a pinch of red pepper flakes or 1/2 lb cooked chorizo.  Yum!