Given that my dad is the person in my life whom I credit for cultivating my passion for food, our annual Father's Day cookout has extra meaning for both of us. This year, I'll be honoring that connection by grilling clams. Some of my most joyful childhood food memories involve the bivalves. We regularly dug for them on the Long Island shore where we'd spend weeks each summer, usually cooking them into a sauce for pasta. We also enjoyed countless meals with our extended family, slurping buckets of butter-dipped steamers while sitting at the bar at the long-gone Ehrhart's Clam House in Freeport, N.Y.
This recipe nods to those good times, while keeping most of the cooking focused on the grill outside, as we usually do on the holiday. It's not only an easy-to-make starter that's just right for the season, it's also a healthful one, too – a mineral- and vitamin-B12-rich lean protein that's a welcome change from the heavy sausages we often turn to. I did manage to include sausage though, using finely chopped chorizo in the garlicky, wine drizzle that's spooned over the grilled clams.
If you've never grilled clams before, you may be as amazed and delighted as I was at how easy it is. Simply put the cleaned clams on the grill (or a grill pan) and cook them until they open into a wide yawn after a few minutes. That's it!
Served drizzled with the lemon-garlic-chorizo white wine sauce, which can be made ahead, along with some bread for soaking up all the luscious juices, it's a dish that embodies everything a holiday weekend should be – flavorful and breezy, with the makings of more good memories.
Grilled Clams With Garlicky Chorizo Drizzle
(From cookbook author and nutritionist Ellie Krieger.)
30 minutes, plus 20 minutes to 1 hour soaking time
Make ahead: The chorizo drizzle can be made up to 3 days in advance and refrigerated in an airtight container; gently rewarm before serving.
Where to buy: Clams can be found at your local fishmonger or at the seafood counter of your supermarket. Dry chorizo can be found at specialty stores or well-stocked supermarkets.
2 pounds little neck clams
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3 tablespoons (1 ounce) finely chopped dried chorizo
3 cloves garlic, minced or finely grated
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Bread, for serving (optional)
Sort through the clams, discarding any that are chipped or opened. Place the clams in a bowl full of cool water and soak for at least 20 minutes and up to 1 hour; then scrub each one to ensure there is no remaining grit.
In a medium skillet set over medium heat, combine 2 tablespoons of the oil, the chorizo and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until the garlic is golden and the chorizo is crisped, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the wine (be careful, it will sputter) and cook for 1 minute, then stir in the lemon juice and the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm.
Preheat a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat. Place the clams on the grill or grill pan and cook, undisturbed, until the clams open widely, 7 to 15 minutes, depending on the size of the clams. (The clams will open slightly early on, but will suddenly open more widely when they are done.) Discard any clams that have not opened once most of the others are done. Using tongs, transfer the clams to a serving plate, retaining as much of their liquid as possible along the way. Spoon the chorizo drizzle over each clam, garnish with the parsley and serve, with bread for dipping into the liquid, if desired.
Nutrition per serving (3 to 5 clams, depending on their size), based on 4 | Calories: 171; Total Fat: 14 g; Saturated Fat: 3 g; Cholesterol: 15 mg; Sodium: 324 mg; Carbohydrates: 3 g; Dietary Fiber: 0 g; Sugar: 0 g; Protein: 7 g
This analysis is an estimate based on available ingredients and this preparation. It should not substitute for a dietitian's or nutritionist's advice.