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Clams with Garlic Sauce

Garlic, parsley and chile brighten this dish of tender clams. Soaking the clams in water laced with cornmeal helps remove any sand they might contain.

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  • Servings: 4

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  • Three dozen littleneck clams, scrubbed
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • A few saffron threads
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 small dried red chile
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot paprika
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup fish stock or 1/4 cup bottled clam juice diluted with 1/4 cup of water


  1. In a bowl, cover the clams and cornmeal with water; add the salt. Soak for 45 minutes; drain and rinse.
  2. In a blender or mini-processor, puree the garlic with 5 tablespoons of the parsley and the saffron.
  3. Heat the oil in a nonreactive skillet. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat until translucent. Add the clams, wine, lemon juice, chile, bay leaves, paprika and pepper. Cover and cook over high heat, stirring; remove the clams as they open.
  4. Add the fish stock and the garlic mixture to the skillet and cook until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Discard the chile and bay leaves. Divide the clams among 4 soup plates, spoon the garlic sauce on top and garnish with the remaining 1 tablespoon parsley.

Suggested Pairing

The garlicky clams might be paired with a number of whites, but the sharpness of the vinaigrette would diminish the taste of rich, round bottlings. Stick with tart, simple whites, such as those from Spain.

Contributed By Published May 1996

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