Clams in Wine, Garlic and Herb Broth

Over the last decade (or two), I seem to have developed quite an aversion to crowds of people.  The feeling of being hemmed in, the annoyance of trying to get where I’m going while people stand obliviously in the center of the walkway, frustration with children running over you while their self-adsorbed parents text and check their email…the list goes on.  Life is hectic out there and I don’t often have the patience for it.  (Yes, I’m old – and get off my lawn.)  However, for something really worth the risk of leaving my controlled surroundings, like a Willie Nelson concert or traveling to an exciting destination, I will steel myself against the onslaught of humanity and march with the crowd.

Patty at recently wrote about visiting the Dekalb Farmer’s Market; she drove for an hour to get there to stock up from the incredible produce and unbelievable meat selections.  This reminded, or maybe shamed me, into remembering that I live not 10 minutes from this great, international farmer’s market.  Why haven’t I been shopping there?  Primarily because it is IMMENSE  and full of people.  By immense, I mean 140,000 square feet, and by full of people, I mean they serve 100,000 customers per week.  Every aspect of shopping there feels like a battle, from parking to maneuvering through the store to getting though the oddly-arranged check out area.  (Really, a big rectangular room with cashiers against the walls does not have a traffic flow.)

I sucked it up…this was a worthwhile trip to go on.  I decided to go mid-week in the morning, to lessen the crowd aspect.  I was pleasantly surprised to see only half the huge parking was full.  Sure, there were plenty of people and carts inside, but it was manageable – especially when you see the rows and rows of fresh fruits and vegetables of all descriptions (organic included).  Please don’t get me started on all the meats, seafood, cheese, and wine.  This is a great place if you love food – a shopping paradise.  If you want selection – here it is – mounds of it!   I didn’t have much of a list prepared so I would be more open to suggestion (which is often dangerous when grocery shopping), so I did a lot of browsing.  I came home with a lot of stuff – grass-fed beef, veal rib chops, chicken thighs, pork chops, littleneck clams, parsley, eggplant, broccoli, garlic, lemons, strawberries, an assortment of mushrooms, olives, a couple bottles of wine, and a bag of Georgia-ground cornmeal.  There’s probably more that I don’t remember.  Forgive me for listing all of that, but I did it for a reason.  It all cost less than $125.  I don’t know about you, but I can’t begin to stroll through Whole Foods for that!

I’m a convert – I just have to remember to avoid the place in the afternoon, on weekends, or holidays, and always bring my checkbook (they accept cash, check or ATM only).

Here’s our first meal with the goods from that visit!  Thanks, Patty!

Ingredients (All amounts are negotiable – pretty much anything will work!):

  • Cleaned and ready for the pot!

    4 tablespoons unsalted butter, grass-fed (Kerrygold is my favorite)

  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-3 tablespoons shallot, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 1 cup white wine (I used a Sauvignon Blanc)
  • 3 pounds littleneck clams
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped
  • handful of fresh parsley, chopped
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream (optional)

Before cooking the clams, keep them on ice, outside of a plastic bag (they need to breathe).  I put a shallow tray of ice in the sink and left the clams on top of that until I was ready to cook.  Just before cooking, scrub the shells with a brush under cold, running water.

Nothing can help you now, my little pretties...

In a large saute pan, melt the butter over medium high heat.  Add the garlic and shallot; cook until fragrant, without browning (1-2 minutes).  Sprinkle in desired amount of crushed pepper flakes and add wine.  Bring to a boil and add the clams and oregano.  Cover and simmer for 5-8 minutes until clams have opened up, shaking the pan occasionally.

As the clams open, carefully take them out and set aside in a bowl.  Discard any clams that have not opened after about 8 minutes.

Continue to simmer the broth until it has reduced some in volume (how much broth you would like with your clams is up to you).  Squeeze in the lemon juice and stir in the parsley.  Season with a few grindings of black pepper.  Taste to see if salt is needed (probably not, because clams are salty!) Add a touch of heavy cream to the broth, if you’d like.  Return the clams to the pan to reheat.

We served this with gluten-free cornbread.  It would also be great over some gluten-free pasta.  Enjoy!

An international shopping experience deserves some international music, don’t you think? First up is a concept that I truly love, Songs Around The World. Musicians from all around the planet collaborating, just remarkable. South Africa, Ireland, New Orleans…but all with a song in their hearts.

Next, something for the little ones…after you’ve had the clams! Dreamland: World Lullabies & Soothing Songs, “quiet time” music from around the world…lull them to sleep and broaden their worldview, all at once!


17 thoughts on “Clams in Wine, Garlic and Herb Broth

  1. I love clams but hardly ever cook them even though they’re not very difficult. Last time I made them pretty close to your recipe, just subbed some olive oil for the butter and no cream. Barely notice the difference.

  2. Go on Tuesday morning. There are hardly any people in there! Never, ever go the day of Thanksgiving, unless you wear steel-toed boots. And bring a bat.

    I’ve been experimenting with gluten-free pasta, thanks to you. The YDFM has a fabulous selection of wheat and non-wheat flours. I brought home chickpea and chia flour yesterday. And, my mother-in-law passed off her pasta machine to me today. You guys ready to be my taste-testing guinea pigs?

  3. You sound like Katherine. It drives her crazy to go to the bigger LR farmers market in the summer. People treat it like a family outing and Katherine walks fast! This looks awesome. Looks like the trip was worth it.

    1. It does require a LOT of patience for people who like to get where they are going. We’ve been very happy with the results of the trip this week…maybe I will get more of the food posted! Thanks!

  4. We must be neighbors if you’re ten minutes away! I love YDFM and visit a couple times a week. It’s my favorite place to take visitors from out of town. I go after work during the week ~6pm it’s very manageable crowd-wise. If I MUST go on the weekends I try to be there when it opens, Love your recipes and your music selections. See you in the fish section!

  5. Take your checkbook? Goodness no. They’ve taken debit cards for a very long time. Only thing you ever need cash for are lottery tickets.

    1. I mentioned that they take ATM cards – however, I don’t own a debit card, I don’t usually carry much cash, and rarely write checks. Spending is all about getting frequent flier miles for me! This is another example of where I’ll do something exceptional, like write a check, so I can shop at YDFM.

      1. Ah, a difference in terminology. Historically “ATM cards” meant cards that got money out of ATMs, but weren’t debit cards. Now the common practice is for debit cards to act as ATM cards, so pure-ATM cards (that aren’t debit) are much less rare. Sorry for being overly subtle with my distinctions.

  6. LOL Great minds think alike. I hate the large supermarkets and street markets for the same reason. However, if only we had a half decent farmers somewhere, anwhere in fact; I’d go and suffer the crowds just to get some really good ingredients (I wish, ho hum).

    Your recipe sounds delicious.

    You are welcome to join in my food blogger event THE SOUP KITCHEN, here all bloggers are welcome, hope to see you participate soon.

  7. I’m going to try the no cream version as well, and serve it will kelp noodles! Have you heard of them?

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