One-Pot Wonders

Clam Pan Roast

April 21, 2011
4 Ratings
  • Serves 2 for lunch, 4 as a light first course
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

What You'll Need
  • 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.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Outsidepaddle
  • boulangere
  • melissav
  • Amanda Hesser
    Amanda Hesser
Amanda Hesser

Recipe 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.

9 Reviews

Outsidepaddle May 22, 2011
Love this dish. I am trying it with razor clams next. Nice, simple, flavorful.
Amanda H. May 31, 2011
Hadn't thought to try that variation -- great idea.
boulangere April 23, 2011
Oh gosh, Amanda, take heart. In Montana I've saved this for the next time clams show up at the Cotsco Seafood Show. For good or for ill, that's as close as we get to fresh clams here. I grew up on the East Coast, then live for many years on the West Coast, in both of which fresh clams were practically a staple. Your idea is a road home, and thank you.
melissav April 23, 2011
We had this for dinner last night along with a couple of stone crab claws and a butter lettuce salad with avocado and pickled onions and radishes. It was the perfect dinner and the clams stole the show. Already thinking of when I can make this again.
Amanda H. April 23, 2011
So glad to hear this -- my blog post got so little traction I thought "Eh! Guess people don't like clams!"
msitter April 22, 2011
Great recipe. Perfect for small meals and, with a little care, even bruschetta.
msitter April 28, 2011
Adding a comment to my initial note, I made this recipe last night and found it exceptional, using regular paprika, instead of smoked, and maybe a touch more sauce than in the picture, capturing the essence of a pan roast. On top of everything else, it is fast and easy to prepare. You positioned it as a lunch thing, but it was great for dinner. (Even company) When I saw that it was for lunch, I thought, oh, I better not have this for dinner. Then, I found this quote by Marion Cunningham, liberating me to have it for dinner: " For supper, you may eat anything you want; you needn't be conventional. I liked a baked potato with olive oil and coarse salt and pepper followed by vanilla ice cream last night."
Amanda H. April 30, 2011
Love that quote.
ellenl April 22, 2011
Oh my, this sounds so good!