These littleneck clams steamed in white wine, surrounded by aromatics, and rich in umami from chorizo, will be the most flavorful clams you’ll eat. The zesty clam and chorizo broth is deliciously soaked up with your favorite bread or pasta.
Littleneck clams are my favorite type to use for this recipe. They are small, tender, and steam well. When buying clams, do a simple ‘tap’ test. Gently tap them together, they should full close their shells, if they don’t they could be dead or dying and you should discard. Also discard any that are broken open.
Since clams live on the ocean floor, makes sense that they have a bunch of sand inside. You don’t want to ruin a dish by slurping up clams with a side of sand. I soak my clams for 30 minutes and as they drink up the fresh water, they ‘spit’ the sand out. Place the clams in a colander and then place that in a bigger bowl filled with cold water. The colander allows the sand to fall to the bottom of the bowl, so the clams can drink it back up. See above how much sand came out.
Once you have soaked the clams, dump the sand water and scrub each clam to remove any sand or grit from the shell. Now they are ready to be cooked.
Growing up Portuguese, you’re taught that pretty much everything tastes better with chorizo added. Chorizo (or Chouriço) is a smoked par-cooked pork sausage seasoned with hot paprika and spices. It is different than Mexican chorizo, which comes raw/uncooked.
Creating savory broth
- Although chorizo is already par cooked, I begin by browning the chorizo to make it more crisp and to release flavorful juices, about 4-5 minutes.
- Minced shallot and thinly sliced garlic (utilized mandoline) is added and sautéd until fragrant.
- I added 4 anchovy filets and butter to enrich the seafood taste, so the chorizo doesn’t overpower the flavor. The filets will dissolve into the oil.
- I then deglaze the pan with white wine and scrape up the delicious browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Next add vegetable broth, red pepper flakes and lemon zest.
The broth should be lightly boiling, gently nestle your clams into the broth and cover with a tight fitting lid. Allow the clams to steam for 5-7 minutes.
If clams haven’t opened after 5-7 minutes, give your pan a shake to get those stubborn clams movin’. Be careful and don’t cook clams for too long, or they will become tough and rubbery. Some clams will not open as fully as others and those are still ok to eat, use a knife to open them when eating. If a clam has a bad smell, that is a sign it needs to be tossed.
Once the clams are steamed open, I top with fresh parsley. This dish is to be served in bowls and enjoyed with freshly toasted bread to soak up all the delicious broth. You may also prepare pasta and laddle the broth and clams over the top. Serve with a lemon wedge on the side.
This clams and chorizo dish is best enjoyed fresh and right away. Clams cool quickly. If you need to store leftovers, do so in the refrigerator and carefully reheat in the microwave. Do not freeze, will alter taste and consistency of clam.
Looking for other seafood recipes?
- 2 dozen little neck clams
- 1 link Spanish/Portuguese Chorizo [see note 1], diced (¼ cup)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 shallot, minced ( 1 ½ tbsp)
- 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced (mandoline)
- 4 anchovy filets in oil
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- ¾ tsp red pepper flakes (omit for less spicy)
- 125ml dry white wine
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 2 tsp grated lemon zest
- 1 tbsp freshly chopped parsley
- Lemon Wedges
- Toasted Bread
- Optional: Pasta
- See note #2 on buying clams. To prep the clams, place them in a colander and place the colander in a larger bowl. Fill the bowl with fresh cold water until all the clams are submerged. Allow the clams to sit in the cold water for 30 minutes to spit the sand from inside their shells. After 30 minutes, remove the colander from the bowl (sand should be at bottom of bowl) and gently scrub each clam to remove any remaining grit or sand.
- In a pot or high walled skillet, over medium heat, add 2 tbsp olive oil and diced chorizo. Sauté chorizo for 4-5 minutes until it begins to brown. Add in the minced shallot and thinly sliced garlic, sauté for one minute until fragrant. Add in 2 tbsp unsalted butter, 4 anchovy filets, and crushed red pepper flakes. Mix all ingredients until anchovies dissolve.
- Pour white wine in and deglaze the pan, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Allow the wine to reduce for 3 minutes. Pour in the vegetable broth and add the lemon zest. Stir to combine all ingredients.
- Allow broth to come to gentle boil and carefully nestle the clams into the broth. Cover with a tight fitting lid and allow clams to steam for 5-7 minutes. Every few minutes give the pan a shake to help stimulate the clams [see note #3].
- Once clams are finished cooking, top with fresh parsley and serve immediately. Using a ladle, ladle broth and clams into a bowl and serve with fresh lemon wedges and toasted bread to soak up the broth. Optional: to turn into a more hearty meal, you can cook pasta and ladle clams and broth over the top.
- Spanish/Portuguese chorizo is par-cooked, do not use Mexican chorizo which comes raw/uncooked
- When buying clams, do a simple 'tap' test. Gently tap them together, they should full close their shells, if they don't they could be dead or dying and you should discard. Also discard any that are broken open.
- Be careful and don't cook clams for too long, or they will become tough and rubbery. Some clams will not open as fully as others and those are still ok to eat, use a knife to open them when eating. If a clam has a bad smell, that is a sign it needs to be tossed.
- This dish is best enjoyed fresh and right away. Clams cool quickly. If you need to store leftovers, do so in the refrigerator and carefully reheat in the microwave. Do not freeze, will alter taste and consistency of clam.