Whoever first pried open a clam and slurped it raw was a brave soul. But it was a glorious person who first steamed a clam open, someone who understood that the true prize of the clam, even more than its meat, is the liquid trapped inside.
Here are our best clam recipes that make the most of that lovely clam liquor as well as that tender meat, from pastas to soups (including four distinct chowders) to steaming pots of seafood, ripe for mopping with crusty bread.
Serve these toasts immediately so the fried bread remains crispy under all the delicious juices.
Get the recipe for Clam and Mussel Toasts »
The secret to this simple and satisfying pasta dish is boiling the linguine until it’s just al dente, so that it will absorb plenty of the briny, winey sauce when the two are cooked together.
Get the recipe for Linguine with Clam Sauce »
Steamed clams in a light white wine-tomato sauce are studded with verdant pieces of broccoli rabe and crunchy bits of prosciutto in this easy skillet supper.
All clams need is garlic and wine to make a perfect pot of steamers. Serve with plenty of crusty bread.
Get the recipe for Garlic-Steamed Manila Clams »
The New England classic: briny with clam liquor, smoky with bacon, more clam than potato, and a slurp of cream for good measure.
In this aromatic dish, shell-shape pasta is dressed in a light tomato and clam sauce with artichoke hearts.
A simple, light soup not short on heat or spice.
Get the recipe for Korean Spicy Clam Soup »
This classic Portuguese dish of bass and clams cooked in a fragrant broth and finished with a rich glug of cream is adapted from
Cimas in Estoril, which has been serving fresh fish to clientele since the ’50s, when the establishment was owned by a Scottish spy. Get the recipe for Braised Bass and Clams in White Wine and Cream »
The briny, classic Manhattan-style chowder is made with two types of clams and plenty of tomato. Perfect for adding a briny helping to browned butter in lobster rolls.
Get the recipe for Manhattan Clam Chowder »
Clams, leeks, and king oyster mushrooms get cooked in a foil pouch that resembles a Jiffy Pop.
Get the recipe for Clam, Leek, and King Oyster Mushroom Foil Yaki »
Colatura, an Italian fish sauce, brings an umami note to this simple appetizer of meaty razor clams.
Get the recipe for Razor Clams Fantasia »
Don’t call it Manhattan clam chowder. This tomato-based soup is Minorcan, and gets a kick of heat from chiles.
Basque-Style Fish with Green Peppers and Manila Clams
This Scottish-style chowder adds smoked haddock and a splash of sherry for a rich flavor and smoky bite.
These stuffed potatoes, which tenderize first in foil packets then crisp up in cast iron atop the coals (or in the oven), are packed with a mix of roasted chestnuts, bacon, and juicy whole clams. “Clams and potatoes are a match made in heaven,” says Joe Beef’s Dave McMillan of the unusual, yet welcome addition of seafood to potatoes. “Just think about clam chowder.”
Get the recipe for Potatoes with Chestnuts and Clams »
Part Spanish, part Filipino, made with rich coconut milk and hard-cooked eggs for garnish.
Get the recipe for Philippine Paella »
This version of a classic New England clambake cooks the shellfish—both topneck clams and mussels—separately from the potatoes so that their briny juices don’t get lost in the boiling liquid.
Get the recipe for Clams and Mussels with Spicy Pork Sausage Broth »
Clam Risotto with Grilled Shrimp