by Patricia Eddy on April 15, 2009

I am ashamed to admit that prior to last week, I’d never actually cooked clams. Shellfish just scared me. Clams, mussels, and oysters were not in my plans. However too many people have been raving about Taylor Shellfish and ‘Oyster Bill’. 


Clams sauteed in butter and white wine

Clams sauteed in butter and white wine

Oyster Bill is Bill Whitbeck, author of The Joy of Oysters and seller for Taylor Shellfish. He’s the friendly bearded face you see behind the booth every weekend at the University District and Ballard Farmers Markets. I finally got up the courage to go talk to him two weekends ago and I came home with a 2 pound bag of clams. The bag cost $10, and fed the two of us happily with only about 20 minutes preparation and cooking time. 


Clams steamed with garlic and white wine

  • 2 pounds of clams
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 leek (optional)

Rinse the clams in cool water. 

Mince the garlic and the leek if you’re using one. 

Melt the butter over medium heat. 

Add the garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes. 

Add the wine and simmer for a minute. 

Next, gently add the clams. Stir until all of the clams are coated with the cooking liquid. 

Put the lid on the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until all of the clams have opened. The clams will pop open just a bit, and then 1-2 minutes later, they’ll pop completely open. If a clam doesn’t pop open, discard it.  

Gently ladle the clams into bowls and pour the cooking liquid over them. Serve with crusty bread that you can dip in the cooking liquid. 

Results: These were fantastic. The entire meal took less than 20 minutes from opening the bag of clams to serving. The clams were tender and quite easy to remove from the shells. I added some smoked sea salt to the cooking liquid and it was delicious for dipping. If you don’t have a leek, you could add rosemary, thyme, or parsley to the cooking liquid. I chose to use clams because when I asked Bill what the easiest shellfish was to cook, his immediate suggestion was clams. They are just about foolproof. Cook them for a few minutes, make sure they open, and enjoy.

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Lang April 15, 2009 at 11:32 am

Right on! Now you’re ready for Black Bean Clams, Thai Red Curry Clams, Clams with Cream, Thyme & Pancetta, and a host of other clammy good food. You can find recipes for those and more at Fat of the Land. Then you might want to try clam digging…


Lang’s last blog post..Eat Your Yard

Patricia Eddy April 15, 2009 at 11:36 am

Ha! Yes, I am definitely ready for more. We’ve already made a dish with cream, rosemary, and Dijon mustard (on the blog schedule for next week) and spicy clams are on the menu for Sunday night!

After we spend a couple of more weeks on clams, we’ll move on to mussels! I cannot believe I spent this long without ever cooking clams.

Patricia Eddy’s last blog post..Clams!

Kate McDermott April 16, 2009 at 9:41 am

The man behind the booth is actually the one and only “Oyster Bill” Whitbeck and is the author of “The Joy of Oysters”. Glad you enjoyed the clams, a great fast food!
Best Bivalves!

Patricia Eddy April 16, 2009 at 9:42 am

Oops! I’ll correct that right away. Thanks!

Erina July 22, 2010 at 7:04 pm

These look great!

Here’s another fave recipe of mine for steamers.

Steamer clams with dill, white wine and butter

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