It’s easy to forget that a pot of steamed clams (or mussels) makes a perfect weeknight dinner. It’s one of the easiest seafood meals to cook, and also one of the healthiest. Shellfish cook in 5 minutes flat once they’re in a pot of simmering liquid. That’s a quick meal, even on the busiest of weeknights. Shellfish even tell you when they’re done, by opening their shells and revealing plump meat inside. That morsel of meat is a uniquely dense source of nutrition.
Clams and mussels are one of the better sources of manganese, which is a common nutrient deficiency. Manganese (different from magnesium) regulates dozens of enzymatic reactions in the body and figures prominently in the production of a vital endogenous antioxidant. Shellfish are also rich in minerals like zinc, selenium and iodine along with A and B-vitamins (especially B12).
Cooking mussels and clams can be as simple as sautéing garlic in butter, adding a cup of liquid, and then simmering the shellfish (covered) for 3 to 5 minutes. Changing the flavor is as simple as changing the liquid. White wine and beer are often used to steam clams and mussels, as are coconut milk, cream and broth.
In this recipe, whole cream and Dijon mustard swirl together into a broth that’s especially flavorful. The pungent flavor of the mustard is mellowed by whole cream, but the mustard still gives this creamy broth a distinctive flavor. It’s equally good with mussels and clams, so choose whichever is your favorite.
Time in the Kitchen: 30 minutes
- 2 pounds clams (any size or variety) (900g)
- 1 tablespoon unsalted tablespoon butter (15 ml)
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot (30 ml)
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- ¼ cup dry white wine (60 ml)
- ½ cup heavy cream (120 ml)
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard (30 ml)
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill (or parsley) (15 ml)
Soak the clams in a large bowl of cold water while prepping the rest of the ingredients. Rinse the clams briefly after draining the water.
Melt butter over medium heat in a large saucepan with a lid. Add shallot and garlic. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until shallots begin to soften but aren’t brown.
Add wine. When it begins to simmer, add half of the cream. Add clams and cover the saucepan with a lid. Simmer gently 3 to 5 minutes, until the clamshells have opened. Discard any shells that don’t open.
Use a slotted spoon to remove the clams. Bring the broth to a simmer. Whisk in the remaining cream and the mustard. Add dill.
Place the clams in a bowl and pour the broth on top.