Portuguese Clams w/ Vinho Verde ~ Amêijoas à Bulhão Pato – This clam dish is a classic Portuguese recipe. It has a long history in Portugal and for good reason: It’s absolutely delicious and easy to prepare. This dish is well-seasoned and full of flavor. It is one of the oldest and most popular recipes from Portugal.
It’s time for another international collab. This month we are in Europe on the Iberian Peninsula, as we explore the foods of Portugal. It is the westernmost point in continental Europe. Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic. The Capital is Lisbon and it has a great reputation for well-prepared food.
A dozen or so YouTube chefs will be preparing one of the classic Portuguese recipes, using #comidaportuguesa. Please check out my co-collaborators and their special dishes of Portugal.
Portuguese Clams w/ Vinho Verde
Today we are making Portuguese Clams with Vinho Verde (Amêijoas à Bulhão Pato). The wine we are using, Vinho Verde, literally means “green wine” but translates as “young wine”. The wine is released three to six months after the grapes are harvested. They may be red, white, or rosé, and they are usually consumed soon after bottling.
In Portugal, Portuguese Clams with Vinho Verde (Amêijoas à Bulhão Pato) are served as a first course, but what makes it interesting is the story behind the name of the dish.
This particular dish is named after Raimundo Antonio de Bulhão Pato, who was a poet in the 19th century. He was a serious foodie.
One theory goes that Bulhão Pato wrote about a chef in one of his works, and the chef was so appreciative that he named this dish (Portuguese Clams w/ Vinho Verde – Amêijoas à Bulhão Pato) after the poet.
Although we will never find out the real reason behind Amêijoas à Bulhão Pato’s name, we know that it’s a must-try Portuguese dish. Don’t forget a fresh loaf of warm, crusty bread to dip in the juice. #comidaportuguesa
Cleaning Portuguese Clams
If the clams are a little sandy, soak them for a couple of hours or overnight in the refrigerator in salted water with a bit of vinegar, cornmeal, and cayenne pepper.
Littleneck clams are probably the best clams to eat. You can eat them raw, steamed, or cooked in this Portuguese style. They are very tasty and easy to cook. In under 15 minutes, you can have a great appetizer or meal. Littlenecks are full of protein, with about 22 grams of protein per 3-ounce serving. They are also low in fat, high in potassium, and loaded with vitamins and minerals. And they are one of the most sustainable seafood options, making them an excellent choice to eat.
Steamed clams – Perfectly steamed clams are cooked with white wine, a good amount of garlic, and lots of fresh herbs. The crusty bread helps to soak up every drop of the flavorful broth of these Amêijoas à Bulhão Pato Portuguese Clams.
Vinho Verde (literally ‘green wine’) refers to Portuguese wine that originated in the Minho province in the far north of Portugal. The modern-day ‘Vinho Verde’ region, originally designated in 1908, includes the old Minho province plus the areas to the south. In 1976, the old province was dissolved. Vinho Verde is not a grape variety, it is a DOC (denominação de origem controlada) to produce wine.
- 12 medium 1 1/2 pounds littleneck clams
- 3 tbsp Extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves very thinly sliced
- 2 fresh bay leaves notches cut every 1/2 inch
- 1/2 cup dry white vinho Verde
- 2 sprigs plus 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
- Crusty bread for serving
- Heat a saucepan over medium-low heat.
- Coat the bottom with oil and add the garlic and bay leaf.
- Cook, stirring until very aromatic, about 4 minutes.
- Toss in the clams and stir to coat in the mixture and get a sizzle going on them.
- Add the vinho Verde and cilantro sprigs.
- Cover, raise the heat to medium-high, and cook, shaking the saucepan frequently, until the clams start to open about 5 to 8 minutes.
- The liquid should be boiling vigorously. Pull out the clams that open first and put them in a dish.
- Cover the saucepan again and continue cooking and pulling until all the clams open. After 5 minutes, any clams that don't open are dead; throw them out.
- Discard the bay leaf and cilantro sprigs.
- Strain the sauce into a large bowl.
- Swirl in 1 tbsp olive oil then fold in the clams and cilantro.
- Serve immediately with plenty of crusty bread.