Steamed Clams with Pancetta & White Wine

A bi-valve buffet that is light, delicious and just a little bit dangerous…

clamsOysters and other shellfish like clams are often considered to be aphrodisiacs. We don’t know if that’s actually true, but the sophistication of proper mollusk management has to score you at least a few points with your date – as long as you don’t screw it up and kill her with a bad batch. No, not really – it’s actually pretty easy to serve your shellfish safely. Just make sure you get your steamers from a reputable source, which means not buying them out of a backpack or the side door of a windowless van.


2 lbs fresh clams, rinsed and cleaned (we used Manila clams)

1/2 cup pancetta (or bacon) diced into small cubes

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

3 to 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced thin

1 shallot, finely chopped

4 lemon wedges

1 cup dry white wine

1/3 cup parsley, chopped

Sea salt

Cracked pepper


Heat a large sauce pan over MEDIUM-HIGH and add vegetable oil

When oil is shimmering, add pancetta and sear until crispy (3 to 4 minutes)

Remove the sauce pan from the skillet and turn down heat on stove to MEDIUM

Using a slotted spoon, remove pancetta and set it on a paper towel to soak up oil

Return the pan, along with the fat from the pancetta, back to the burner and add butter, garlic and shallots; stir constantly for about 2 minutes or until shallots are soft

Add the white wine and turn the heat back up to MEDIUM-HIGH; bring to a simmer

Once simmering, add the clams and put lid on sauce pan and steam for 7 minutes; without taking off the lid, shake the pan ever minute or so

Remove from heat and inspect clams – remove any clams that haven’t opened

Pour everything into a bowl, top with parsley and serve


*If you have a local fish shop, buy your clams there and ask them to be cleaned. Once you bring them home, store them in the fridge until it’s time to cook. 

*A great way to serve this is right out of the pan instead of a new dish – either way, make sure you have a “shell bowl” for used shells

*We also recommend serving this with some of our homemade “unscrewupable” bread – and some white wine or a nice wheat beer


  • James says:

    1 Cup pancetta ham, is that typed correctly?

    • adriensala says:

      Hey James. You’re right: 1 cup could be considered a lot. 1/2 a cup would work too, and save you some of the saltiness. As for using Cups as a measuring unit instead of weight, I did that because I diced it and filled up a measure cup (also, I got it a local store from a friend who just charged me a rough cost without weight).

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