Tomatillo Salsa Clams

a bowl of food on a table

Photo by Jessica Leibowitz

If you think about it, the liquor in which a clam swims is nature’s own clam sauce, a great source of the clam’s appeal whether you eat it raw or steamed.  When they’re steamed the clam shells open and  the clam liquor flows into the pot.  And there you have it, simple as falling off a log:  instant clam sauce extraordinaire.  If you want to speed up this recipe you can use store bought green (or even red) salsa.

Makes 4 servings

Hands-on time: 30 minutes
Total preparation time: 35 minutes

1 recipe Tomatillo Salsa (recipe follows), or 2 cups store-bought green salsa
1 large onion
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 dozen small cherrystone clams
1 loaf crusty bread

Make the Tomatillo Salsa.

Finely chop the onion (about 2 cups). Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until hot. Reduce the heat to medium-low; add the onion and cook 5 minutes or until it has softened. Add the Tomatillo Salsa to the saucepan and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes.

Meanwhile, scrub the clams. Add the cleaned clams to the saucepan; cover and steam 5 to 7 minutes until they open wide. Discard any clams that remain unopened after 6 to 8 minutes.

Divide the clams and sauce among 4 soup or pasta plates and serve with crusty bread to mop up the sauce.

Tomatillo Salsa

Combine 3 cups coarsely chopped tomatillos (about 4 large), 1/2 cup coarsely chopped scallion (white and light green parts of 4 medium), 1 coarsely chopped large jalapeño (about 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon), 1/2 cup firmly packed fresh cilantro leaves and stems, ¼ cup vegetable oil, 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice, 4 coarsely chopped small garlic cloves (about 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon) and salt and pepper to taste in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.


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