Editors' Picks

The Unfussy Way to Cook Clams

May 20, 2015

In Cooking from Every Angle, we hear from our fearless leaders: Food52 co-founders Amanda & Merrill. 

Today: A Sunday night, 3-ingredient snack that will let you pause one last time before another hectic week.

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Ever since living in Europe, where everyone seems to casually sit down for a glass of wine and hors d’oeuvre before serving dinner, I’ve wanted to do the same with our family on the weekends. But it turns out we’re very American in our ways, rushing around doing laundry, finishing up homework, writing a few last emails, cracking open a beer while someone puts the food on plates, and then plopping down at the table in a collective exhale. We do light candles and toast, but the hour-long preamble has remained a fantasy.

However, I have managed to squeak in one dish that encourages everyone to pause. On Sunday nights, we often make fish tacos. Our fishmonger at the Greenmarket also sells excellent littleneck clams. I’ve taken to buying a dozen and roasting them until they open. As they do, we all gather around the counter, dabbing them with butter and topping the warm, briny clams with a droplet or two of Cholula. We eat them standing up, chatting, shells clanking against the pan—a civilized and sweet family gathering. And once the last clam goes—quickly!—we get back to our business.

Sunday Night Clam Snack

1 dozen littleneck clams, scrubbed
1 to 2 tablespoons butter
Cholula hot sauce, to taste
Optional: lemon juice, preserved lemons, parsley, and anything else you like with your clams

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photos by James Ransom 

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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Captain
  • Barb
  • Peps
  • nancy essig
    nancy essig
  • Kenzi Wilbur
    Kenzi Wilbur
Amanda Hesser

Written by: Amanda Hesser

Before starting Food52 with Merrill, I was a food writer and editor at the New York Times. I've written several books, including "Cooking for Mr. Latte" and "The Essential New York Times Cookbook." I played myself in "Julie & Julia" -- hope you didn't blink, or you may have missed the scene! I live in Brooklyn with my husband, Tad, and twins, Walker and Addison.


Captain June 4, 2015
Nancy,Nancy if you are taking life this serious than "you're doing it wrong". The good news is there is a lovely drink called a BOURBON NEAT that will take that edge right off.
Barb June 3, 2015
"You're doing it wrong" is kinda cute, in my opinion. Sometimes the ideas are better than mine, sometimes they're not, but I'm not going to get my panties in a twist over it.
Peps May 27, 2015
Hesser deserves better than that lame click bait headline. Some intern needs to be fired.
nancy E. May 20, 2015
I don't make clams wrong, This recipe is wrong and if you tell me I do something wrong again I am pulling from this site.
Kenzi W. May 20, 2015
Hi Nancy—I'm sorry you feel that way! We love this recipe, and would be happy to hear what you think might be wrong with it. If you're referring to the headline you saw on social, that was us just having a little fun! We didn't intend to offend you or anyone else, and if you're ever in our neck of the woods we will make you some clams to prove it.
nancy E. May 20, 2015
I always thought your site was encouraging and helpful. That "You are doing it wrong" Headline is terrible. We are doing it differently or the way we were taught but not and never WRONG. It has come up a few times on your recipes and It never fails to make me sad.