One of the best parts about summer is digging into a big bowl of brothy clams! You all know how much I LOVE seafood, and during the summer I try to fit it into every meal that I can. In fact, my yearly Fishy Feast is a love letter to all things seafood. 🍤 🐟 Since we’re entertaining on a more low key note this summer, I’ve been thinking about my favorite recipes that are perfect for a small crowd. Clams are just about one of the easiest seafood dishes to prepare!
I always go back to my Flavors cookbook for inspiration. This time around, my recipe for Baja Beach Clams caught my eye. These littleneck clams are steamed in a fragrant beer broth that’s packed with garlic, fresh tomatoes, cilantro, and lime juice. The only thing that can make this dish better is a crunchy piece of baguette for dipping!
For anyone who might be a little intimidated by the idea of cooking clams, I promise you, it’s so easy. The clams will naturally open up as they steam and you’ll have a gorgeous appetizer for your family and friends in under 20 minutes.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small, fresh jalapeño chile stemmed, and seeded if desired, and sliced into thin rounds
- 3 garlic cloves peeled and minced
- 2 large plum tomatoes trimmed and finely chopped
- ⅓ cup green onion thinly sliced, tender tops included
- 2 cups light lager beer (like Corona)
- 24 small hard-shelled clams (littlenecks) well scrubbed and rinsed
- ⅓ cup cilantro finely chopped
- wedges of lime to squeeze on top
- In a large, heavy pot over low heat, warm the olive oil. Add the jalapeño and garlic, cover and cook, stirring once or twice, for 3 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes and green onion, raise the heat slightly and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally for 3 minutes. Add the beer and clams.
- Cover the pan and raise the heat. Cook the clams, stirring them occasionally, and transfer them with a slotted spoon as they open to shallow serving bowls. (The time will vary, from only a few minutes to as long as 20).
- Discard any clams that have not opened after 20 minutes. Pour the broth through a fine mesh strainer set over a deep bowl or measuring cup. Spoon the tomato mixture from the strainer over the clams, dividing it equally.
- Let the broth settle briefly, then spoon it over the clams, leaving the sandy residue behind.
- Sprinkle the cilantro over the clams and serve immediately, accompanied by lime wedges for squeezing, if desired
As a host, you’ll love how unfussy this recipe is. You can even have your friends help by grilling or toasting a few pieces of baguette brushed with olive oil while you’re steaming the clams! This is also a great dish to prepare when you’re having a few people over for cocktails, a bottle of wine or some cold beers. If you know you’ll be having a big group, you can easily double this recipe. I hope you love my Mexican spin on steamed clams. It’s always a hit at my house!
As always, I’d love to hear from you in the comments section about your favorite way to make clams. And even if you can’t get to the beach this summer, you can always pretend you’re there with a bowl of these Baja Beach Clams! I hope you’re all staying safe out there. Have a great weekend.