One thing that Portuguese cuisine does better than the rest, is seafood, especially cooked clams. Amêijoas à Bulhão Pato is a delicious recipe for one of the most popular Portuguese clam dishes, and it is truly one of my favorites. The buttery and garlicky flavor lends unbelievable taste to this dish that is truly delicious. It is very easy to make with simple ingredients in classic Portuguese style, you just need to go out and get some clams to cook, preferably littlenecks.
1 and a half lbs live clams in the shell (Littlenecks clams work best)
1 teaspoon sea salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon, quartered
4 garlic cloves, sliced thin
1/2 a stick of butter
1) Scrub the clams under cold running water to remove sand or grit clinging to the shells. Discard any that are open and will not close when tapped.
2) Place the clams in a large bowl and cover with cold water mixed with 1 teaspoon sea salt. Soak for 3 hours so that they will expel sand that has accumulated.
3) After 3 hours, take the clams out of the water. Rinse the clams again and dry them with a dish towel.
4) Heat a large saucepan over a high flame. When the pan is hot, reduce the heat to medium and add the olive oil and butter. When the butter is melted, add the garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds. Do not let it burn.
5) Add the clams to the pan and cover. Cook for 4 to 7 minutes, occasionally shaking the pan or stirring them with a spoon. The exact time will depend on the size of the pan, the volume of heat and the number of clams. You’ll hear the clams rattle and gently pop when the shells open. Don’t overcook them, or the clams won’t come out right.
6) As soon as most of the clams are open, pour the lemon juice over them and stir so that it mixes with the juices in the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle the cilantro and black pepper, if desired, over the clams and stir again.
7) Immediately pour the clams and sauce into a serving bowl. (If there are any that have not opened, return them to the pot. Turn the heat to the lowest setting and cover—they may open in a few more minutes. If they don’t, throw them away.
8) Serve with some bread to enjoy the delicious clam sauce, I highly recommend it, and enjoy!
This recipe was inspired by our friends over at www.spicelines.com and Clipper Restaurant in Fall River, MA, so check them out as well!