When I visited Portugal last September, I discovered this magnificent national dish for myself: Amêijoas à Bulhão Pato. I could have eaten these devine clam shells all day long! The combination of the nutty clam taste together with the silky lemon-garlic sauce and the freshness of coriander leaves… What a joy!
We ended up sharing one plate of Amêijoas as a joint starter every night continuing with other sea food and Portuguese delicacies. If you like fresh fish, you will be the happiest person in Portugal. The catch of the day is always different and the taste will always turn out as a brand new experience. Very authentic and unpretentious – truly lovely and very special!!!
Amêijoas are such a great and quick summer fix and they are fantastic for any dinner occasion. Served with fresh bread (eventually roasted) and some light and cool white wine such as the Portuguese Vinho Verde, you may feel like you are on vacation…
For two main course servings or four starter portions:
- 1 kg clam shells
- 75 ml dry white wine
- 75 ml water
- 2 tbsp olive oil – fine extra vergine
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 lemon – juice & 2 slices with zest
- 4 garlic cloves – peeled and sliced
- 2 tbsp fresh coriander leaves – roughly chopped
- Salt & pepper – freshly grounded
1// Make sure you free the clams of any sand which may be inside the shell. For this, place the clams in a sieve into a big bowl filled with salty water for couple of hours. Wrinse the clams shortly with fresh water before you start cooking the dish.
2// Put olive oil, butter and the two lemon slices into a hot pot. Cook the lomon slices for about one minute or until the zest is soft, then add the garlic and cook for another 10-15 seconds. Make sure the garlic gets soft but does not burn! Finally deglaze with white wine and take out the soft lemon zest.
3// Add salty water and lemon juice together with the clams and about half of the coriander leaves. Covered with a lid, let simmer at high heat for about 8-10 minutes or until the sauce reduces somewhat to a slightly silky consistency.
4// Before serving, stir the clams through the sauce and remove all clams which are still closed. Place a portion of clams together with plenty of sauce on each plate and top with the rest of coriander and fresh pepper.