Clams and mussels—steamed with white wine and butter and then shucked and smothered in a lemony dressing—make for a luxurious first course of a leisurely lunch. The result is fresh-tasting shellfish in a briny, bright sauce, perfect for scooping up with lettuce or spooning over toast.

Mary-Frances Heck
April 2021

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Credit: Photo by Caitlin Bensel / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen

Recipe Summary test

active:
30 mins
marinate:
6 hrs
total:
8 hrs 15 mins
Yield:
6 to 8
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Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Melt butter in a large pot over medium-high. Add clams and wine. Cover and bring to a simmer over medium-high; cook, shaking pot occasionally, until clams open, 5 to 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer clams to a large bowl; discard any clams that do not open. Add mussels to pot; cover and cook until mussels open, 3 to 6 minutes. Transfer mussels to bowl with clams; discard any mussels that do not open. Pour cooking liquid into a large heatproof measuring cup, and set aside. Let shellfish stand until cool enough to handle, about 15 minutes. Shuck meat, and place in a large heatproof bowl; discard shells.

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  • Peel 3 (2-inch) strips of lemon peel from lemon using a vegetable peeler. Halve lemon; squeeze to yield 3 tablespoons juice. Set lemon peel and juice aside. Heat oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium. Add celery, carrot, shallot, and garlic; cook, stirring often, until vegetables are tender, about 6 minutes. Stir in thyme sprigs, bay leaves, and lemon peel. Carefully pour shellfish cooking liquid through a fine wire-mesh strainer into skillet, leaving any sediment in measuring cup. Bring to a gentle simmer over medium. Remove from heat; stir in lemon juice and vinegar.

  • Pour mixture in skillet over shellfish. Let cool 1 hour. Stir in parsley; season with salt and pepper. Cover and chill at least 6 hours. Bring to room temperature; serve with lettuce and bread.

Make Ahead

Conserva can be made up to 5 days ahead. Let come to room temperature before serving.

Wine

Minerally, precise bubbles: NV Champagne Vouette et Sorbée Fidèle.

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