Pot of Littlenecks
I come from a family of cooks, fishermen, sailors and singers who all grew up on the ocean. There are a lot of us — my dad was one of twelve, my mom was one of five and most of my forty-eight first cousins still live within the region. The simple pot of clams is a staple beach recipe: it’s two ingredients, best eaten with your hands, and easily scalable to feed a crowd. Serve it alongside a big bowl of salad and a board of bread and butter. (Please dip a hunk of bread in that bottom-of-the-pot clam broth.)
- 3 pounds littleneck clams
- 2 tablespoons salted butter
Scrub the littlenecks under cold water to remove any sand or grit. Drain excess water. Discard any clams that are already open.
Add butter to the bottom of a large pot with a fitted lid; add clams. Place pot over medium-high heat. Cook, covered, until the clams have opened (pretty wide, like they’re stretching and yawning), 5 to 8 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Using a spider, slotted spoon or tongs, add the clams to a large serving bowl. Divide the broth that remains at the bottom of the pot (liquid gold) into a few smaller bowls for dipping clam bodies. Set the clams and broth on the table next to a bowl for shells.
Note: This recipe works well with unsalted butter, too – use what you have and don’t sweat it either way. Littlenecks are naturally briny and saline.