When I was growing up, one of the last things I thought I would enjoy eating were clams. Mind you, I was a picky eater, but…still. All of that changed one day when I was working at one of my late places of employment, and I was able to try one of their nightly specials: Manilla Clams with White Wine and Garlic. I about fell in love with the sauce and immediately thereafter, the clams. I asked the chef what he put in the pan and I remember most of the ingredients, although he never gave me any measurements. Over years of trial and error, adding and subtracting ingredients, and getting feedback from friends and family, I have finally created a steamed clams in white wine sauce recipe that I'm darn proud of.
Sometimes it's not as easy to track down Manilla clams, so I usually end up using Littleneck clams. I always try to buy my seafood and use it that day or within 1-2 days for optimal freshness. I buy one pound of clams which is usually a good size portion for two people, but you could definitely double the recipe for a small family. And for the wine, I tend to use a Chardonnay or Savignon Blanc, but most wine wine varietals should work just fine, except for a sweet white wine. For the herbs, you can try fresh or dry, but I prefer fresh, and the bread you buy is very important. Don't purchase just any old bread for this recipe. Remember, you will be dipping your bread in this heavenly sauce before you bite it, so make it count! I would suggest a high quality sourdough or rustic bread.
If you've ever been hesitant to try clams, then this is the perfect opportunity to give it another go. Make this, eat a clam, dip your toasted bread in the white wine and garlic sauce, bite into it and finish the experience off with a gorgeous glass of Chardonnay. This recipe could change your life, just saying. My family actually requests that I make this dish every year now. My Steamed Littleneck clams with white wine, garlic and fresh herbs is seriously yumbelievable - my new word! Let me know what you think.
Scrub and rinse clams well and set aside. In a medium-sized sauté pan, add olive oil, garlic and shallots on medium heat until garlic and shallots start to sizzle. Add white wine, chicken broth, sage, thyme and clams to your pan (turn up to medium high heat). Cover pan and wait for clams to open (takes around 3-5 minutes). Toast or broil sourdough bread, brush lightly with butter or olive oil or keep plain. Once all of your clams have opened, add butter and turn pan heat to low. Let simmer for about 2 minutes so sauce can slightly thicken. Next, pour everything in your pan into a large enough bowl with sliced bread for dipping. Sprinkle with some fresh thyme for a garnish. Do not serve unopened clams. Serve hot and enjoy!