Clam Pan Roast

By Amanda Hesser
April 21, 2011
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Author Notes: The pan roast, a model of ease, an emblem of the robust fare of old, is a favorite of mine. Most of the pan roasts I’ve had in my life have involved oysters, and fair enough, the oyster loves to be slathered in butter and laid upon a drift of toast. But it was time for the clam to get a chance at the pan roast.

James Beard’s pan roast calls for 3/4 cup of butter to poach the oysters. You are welcome to take that route, but be ready to lie prone on the sofa afterward. I opted, instead, to steam open the clams with just a slick of butter in the pan to mingle with the clam juices, and later added a shot of cream with paprika, herbs, and the seasoning pinch hitter, Worcestershire sauce.
Amanda Hesser

Serves: 2 for lunch, 4 as a light first course

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 12 to 16 littleneck clams (or other small clam), scrubbed well
  • 1 scallion, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/8 teaspoon hot smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon chopped thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped flatleaf parsley
  • 4 to 8 toast points
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
  1. Melt the butter in a sauté pan large enough to fit the clams in a single layer. Cover the pan and increase the heat to medium high. Cook just until the clams begin to open, 5 to10 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the clams to a bowl. Discard any broken or unopened clams. Remove the clams from their shells and set aside.
  2. Set the pan over medium heat. Add the scallions to the pan and let wilt for 30 seconds while you add the paprika, Worcestershire sauce, and cream. Cook to desired consistency – I like my sauce loose. Toss in the thyme and parsley, and adjust seasoning as needed. Add the clams back to the pan, and heat through, spooning the sauce over them to help move things along.
  3. Serve, spooned over toast points, with a wedge of lemon on the side.

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