Manila Clams with Serrano Ham and Parsley Oil

Manila clams are wonderfully dainty, but use larger ones, like cherrystones, for a heartier and more casual dish. Serve it with hunks of crusty French bread to soak up the flavorful broth.


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  • Servings: 8

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parsley oil
  • 2 cups (packed) flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 plum tomatoes (1 pound), halved and cored
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Four 8-ounce bottles of clam juice
  • 4 dozen Manila or littleneck clams
  • 2 ounces thinly sliced serrano ham or prosciutto, julienned
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley

How to make this recipe

  1. In a food processor, process the parsley and olive oil to a puree. Let the puree stand at room temperature for at least 10 minutes or for up to 1 hour, then strain it through a coarse sieve. Season with salt and pepper.

  2. Put the tomatoes in a large, nonstick skillet, cut side down, and cook over moderately high heat until charred, about 3 minutes. Transfer the tomatoes to a plate to cool slightly, then cut them lengthwise into 1/4-inch wedges.

  3. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the garlic and cook over low heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the wine and lemon juice and boil over high heat until almost evaporated, about 4 minutes. Add the clam juice and bring to a boil. Add the clams, cover and cook until they begin to open, 3 to 4 minutes; using tongs, transfer the clams to a warm bowl as they open.

  4. Add the tomatoes and ham to the clam broth and season with salt and pepper. Pour the broth over the clams and sprinkle with the chopped parsley. Serve in warmed bowls and pass the parsley oil at the table.

Make Ahead

The parsley oil can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Suggested Pairing

A white wine with lively acidity will balance the bright lemon, tomato and ham flavors in this shellfish dish. Consider an organic bottling from the environs of Venice or California.

Contributed By Photo © Victoria Pearson Published January 2001

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