Steamed Clams in a Beer, Lemon and Garlic Broth


I went to the Dedham Farmer’s Market on Wednesday looking for some fruit. I left without fruit… but I came home with 2 dozen little neck clams and 2 pounds of mussels that I bought off a seafood truck from Jordan Brother’s Seafood, in Stoughton, MA.

I love that you can buy grass fed meats, local honey and cheeses and even fresh seafood at farmer’s markets now. The products are as fresh as fresh can be. Plus, you’re supporting the local business man and eating local… reducing greenhouse gas emissions and decreasing your carbon footprint. Perfect!

I hadn’t had steamers in YEARS. They are really popular in NJ where I grew up, but I don’t see them as much around here. Then, a month or two ago I had some Portland, OR while I was visiting and then again at a local restaurant here. I have been craving them ever since. I tried to remember, and I honestly don’t think I’ve ever steamed clams before! I’m sure I have… but not for a very, very, long time.

I decided a beer bath would be good. I checked the fridge and was happy to see I had a large variety to choose from. I found the perfect one… Sam Adam’s Summer Ale — a wheat beer with a hint of lemon zest. I winged the rest…

Steamed Little Clams in a Beer, Lemon and Garlic Broth

2 pounds little neck clams (or other small clam)
1 bottle beer (I used Sam Adams Summer Ale)
2 large cloves garlic, smashed
1/2 lemon, sliced into wedges
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp Old Bay Seasoning
Fresh ground pepper and salt to taste

Into a large pot, pour beer and add lemon wedges, butter, Old Bay, Salt/Pepper and smashed garlic. Bring to slow boil over medium heat.

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Once boiling, add clams, turn up heat to medium-high (I do this for ethical reasons… get it over and done with fast!) and cover.

As the clams begin to cook the shells will open. Clams are done when all the shells are opened wide. If any clams do not open with the others, discard them… this means they are bad.

I served the clams just as is… with a bunch of the “broth” in a bowl (for dipping — no additional butter needed).

FABULOUS… Sweet, briny, buttery, goodness.

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Of course I had to include a little bread for sopping up the juices. WAY too good to leave behind…

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14 Comments to “Steamed Clams in a Beer, Lemon and Garlic Broth”

  1. Allen says:

    this looks and sounds absolutely scrumptious!

  2. Salina says:

    This looked delish! When I worked in Copley, I frequent shop at the farmer’s market, held Tuesday and Friday in front of Trinity Church, during lunch time, and I’ve never seen seafood being sold there. And this is the first time that I read about clams being cooked in beer. I always cooked clams in white wine. Next time when I’m heading to Dedham, I wanted to pick up some clams in Farmer’s market and try this recipe.

  3. Eggie says:

    This was amazing! We doubled your recipe for 5 1/2 lbs of littlenecks. We only had lemon in a bottle so we splashed it on before serving. We also used Victoria beer (Vienna lager) which made a really rich, dry broth. Three of us polished all of it off with two whole baguettes.

  4. Jody says:

    I made this but used 50 clams Iit was excellent! The broth was so good, I would have saved it but none was left over.

  5. Katie J. says:

    Very easy recipe and tasty!!! Next time I’ll remember the bread!

  6. mike r says:

    Did this very recipe with 50 clams and Boston ale with two lemons awesome best clams I ever had!

  7. [...] My free association immediately leads to my favorite beer-based dish: Mussels steamed in Belgian beer. Delightful! This is a traditional Flemish dish, which I first tried while touring Normandy by car. It always brings back memories of eating in small seaside villages. A garlic mayonnaise and thin-cut French fries accompany the mussels, and the combination is called “Moules Frites.” Here’s the Chicago variety of mussels steamed in Belgian beer, as served at the Hopleaf Bar: http://timeoutchicago.com/. You can do the same with clams, using American beer, such as Sam Adams: http://www.bostonfoodandwhine.com/  [...]

  8. Dan says:

    Making them tonight…

  9. Sandie says:

    Absolutely LOVED this recipe. Just re-reading the recipe makes me hungry for more!

  10. mel mor says:

    Sounds so delish cannot wait to try. Sure the fam will LOVE!

  11. Jody says:

    I make this often. It is so easy and so delicious!

  12. [...] This post was originally published in August 2010… but continues to be one of the most searched for and viewed posts. It’s a great recipe for the summer and seems like the perfect way to kick off my vacation. In fact, I may even go buy some and make this recipe this week! [...]

  13. Lori B says:

    Absolutely delicious. We’ve used the same broth for crab legs and shrimp too!

  14. jeanette says:

    I made this tonight using a microbrew beer and it came out awful. My husband said it was because of the beer—-it was soooooo bitter, yuk. i’ll try again using a different beer i guess

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