Jeremy Sewall from Row 34, a local oyster bar in Boston, removes hurdles from cooking seafood by crafting simple but delicious recipes in The Row 34 Cookbook, as evidenced in these quick and easy steamed clams. The name comes from the process of oyster growing, as Skipp Bennett from Island Creek Oysters had thirty-four rows of a new, nameless oyster.
When shooting images for the cookbook, Sewall found himself without white wine to make the classic New England steamed clams. He improvised, pulling a saison from his refrigerator to use as a replacement (who would know the difference?). To his surprise, the saison was a better match for the clams’ subtle briny flavor. The only solution was to share this discovery, and Sewall rewrote the recipe to include the spontaneous replacement that resulted in the delicious dish.
Sewall prepares the steamed littleneck clams using a saison ale from Trillium, a brewery located just around the corner from Row 34. While he prefers saison’s flavor to match with the clams, lager and pilsner also work well. Place this dish in the center of the table and let everyone serve themselves.
A note: If you have a stubborn clam that only opens slightly after cooking, carefully try to pry it open using a clam or butter knife.
Serves 4 as an appetizer
4 sticks (1 pound) unsalted butter at room temperature
2 cups tightly packed flat-leaf parsley
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1 teaspoon minced garlic
4 whole scallions, thinly sliced, white and green parts separated
40 littleneck clams, cleaned
1 cup saison, preferably Trillium Brewery’s Saison Du Row
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tablespoons Parsley Butter
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 slices grilled or toasted sourdough bread
Parsley Butter Ingredients
Make the butter: Place all ingredients in a food processor fitted with the metal blade and puree until smooth. Using plastic wrap, roll the butter into a 2-inch cylinder and wrap tightly. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Make the littlenecks: In a large pot with a tight-fitting lid, heat the canola oil over medium heat. Add the shallot, garlic, and white parts of the scallions and sauté until they begin to color lightly, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the clams and the beer, cover, and let steam until the clams start to open, about 8 minutes.
As the clams open, use a slotted spoon to transfer them from the pot to a serving bowl. Repeat this until all the clams are open and in the serving bowl, leaving most of the cooking liquid in the pot. Add the lemon juice and parsley butter to the liquid and whisk until the butter has melted. Taste the sauce—it should be salty. Season with salt and pepper as needed, then pour the sauce over the clams. Garnish with the scallion greens and serve sourdough on the side.
Video by: Jonathan Boncek
Edits by: Jack McAlister
Production by: Maggie Ward
Location: Charleston Wine + Food
Recipe FromThe Row 34 Cookbook: Stories and Recipes from a Neighborhood Oyster Bar by Jeremy Sewall and Erin Byers Murray, Rizzoli New York, 2021. Images © Michael Harlan Turkell