Steamed, Herb-Buttered Bay Clams with Lime

Servings: 1

Harvesting steamers before a low tide is a timeless activity with a mouthwatering reward. This minimalist dish emphasizes the shellfish by brightening their brininess with citrus and fresh herbs; a velvety butter-sauce marries everything together.

To prepare live, unshucked clams for steaming, rinse and scrub their shells under cold water before placing them in a cold brine solution of the following ratio:

  • Salt (1 unit)
  • Water (32 units)

Allow the clams to soak for a few hours or overnight so they will push out the sand. Once you are ready to begin cooking them, bring to a boil in a medium pot over high heat:

  • Water (about an inch high)

After the water has come to a boil, place in the pot:

  • Small bay clams (2 pounds)

Reduce the heat to limit the water to a simmer. Cover and occasionally shake the pot to evenly steam the clams until they are all open, for about 5 to 8 minutes. Once they have finished cooking, remove them from their liquor and place on a serving dish, but reserve the clam liquor. Meanwhile, melt in a small pan over medium-low heat:

  • Butter (2 ounces, unsalted)

As the butter melts, use a mortar and pestle to crush the following:

  • Garlic (1 clove)
  • Kosher salt (1 teaspoon)
  • Black peppercorns (¼ teaspoon)

Reduce the butter's heat to low and stir in the prepared spices. As the gentle heat awakens the spices, finely chop the following:

  • Tarragon (1 tablespoon, fresh)

Stir in the tarragon and the following:

  • Clam liquor (1 tablespoon, reserved)

Finally, pour the herb-butter sauce over the clams. Serve clams with the following:

  • Lime wedges