To complement a pot of garlicky steamed clams, all you need is some crusty bread — or perhaps just a spoon. Tarragon and chives provide a zingy freshness to the clams in this variation, while lime juice and zest brighten things up. But it’s the butter that brings the dish together!
When cleaning the clams, take your time; they’ll need a good scrubbing under running water to get rid of all the sand and grit. If the sauce contains grit, strain it through a sieve fitted with a dish towel or allow it to fall to the bottom of the pot and spoon the sauce from the top.
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
A splash of white wine (Optional)
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons tarragon
1kg littleneck clams (about 30 clams)
2 tablespoons minced chives
Grated zest of 1 lime
Pinch red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoons lime juice
Warm oil over medium heat in a medium saucepan or large straight-sided skillet with a cover. Garlic and tarragon should be added at this point. Cook for 2 minutes, or until garlic is somewhat softened.
Stir in the clams and optional white wine, then cover and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the clams open. Remove the clams from the saucepan with a slotted spoon or tongs and divide them into two serving bowls. Any clams that do not open should be discarded.
Increase the heat to high and cook for 20 seconds before adding the chives, lime zest, and red pepper flakes to the pan sauce. Whisk in the butter and lime juice until the butter has melted and the sauce has thickened up a bit.
Serve immediately with pan juices poured over clams.