Clams (or Mussels) With Lime-Butter Sauce

By Nicholas Day
January 5, 2015
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Author Notes:

Very lightly adapted from Charles Phan's The Slanted Door Cookbook. Key changes: for the heat-phobic child, I have left out the Thai chiles that Phan calls for. (If you have a pro-chile children, halve four Thai chiles and add them when the clams go in.) And although Phan calls for clams alone, I think this is every bit as good with mussels, which kids may favor (clams being tougher to chew). Also, while rice wine and Thai basil are obviously more Slanted Door in spirit, I have also made this with white wine and Italian basil. Reader, we ate it.

Nicholas Day

Serves: 4

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/4 cup onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
  • 2 pounds clams, scrubbed and purged (or the same of mussels)
  • 1/4 cup rice wine
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 4 Thai chiles, halved lengthwise (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 or 5 Thai basil leaves, coarsely chopped
  1. In a large saucepan with a top, warm the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for a couple of minutes. Add the clams, rice wine, lime juice, fish sauce, and chiles, if using. Cover and steam for a couple more minutes, until the clams have opened up. Add the butter and basil and stir. Try the sauce, adding more lime juice or fish sauce to taste. Serve immediately.

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