Pinterest Instagram RSS Feed

Summer dining, family style: Steamer clams with dill, white wine and butter


July 23, 2010

Summer Dining, Family Style

Summer Dining, Family Style

I come from a large, loud, opinionated, funny, brutal, supportive, critical, and awe-inspiring extended family. The Malarkeys are…as my husband likes to say…”a force”. There are a lot of us, we all think we’re great, we all think the others are even greater, and we love nothing more than getting together to talk about said greatness, eat fantastic food, drink great wine, and reminisce about past meals and past wine we’ve shared. In short..just a little Irish.

The tradition has continued with my first cousins, and as we’ve grown older it’s morphed from shared birthday parties and rival high-school basketball leagues, to trips, housemates, and of course, dinner parties. The eldest of the bunch, Susannah-Maria was recently in town from Wyoming and despite the fact that we had all been together the weekend before, we decided another cousin evening was in order. Being the oldest one in Seattle, and married (gasp!) and therefore presumed domesticated, I volunteered to host. I did however, in typical Malarkey fashion, first assign everyone their duties. Margot brought a gorgeous appetizer board of crackers, cheese, olives, and raspberries, Annie-Laurie was tasked with dessert (Ben and Jerry’s, foolproof), and Susannah-Maria brought steamer clams for the main course.

Being an east coast gal I love steamers. They are easy, indulgent yet affordable, and scream “summer is here”. Paired with some corn on the cob and crusty bread and you have a meal. Just don’t forget all the cousins…

Steamer clams with dill, white wine and butter

Serves 4 as a light supper. Pair with a sparkling wine or champagne.

2.5-3 lbs steamer clams

1/2 cup white wine

1/4 cup water

1 TB dill

1 TB garlic, minced

2 TB butter

2 TB lemon juice

  1. Rinse the steamers with cold water until free of sand.
  2. Add all the ingredients into a large, lidded, heavy pot and stir to combine.
  3. Add the steamers, put the lid on, and bring to a boil. Reduce to medium heat and cook 5-10 minutes until steamers are opened up (discard those few stubborn ones that don’t open up versus overcooking them).
  4. Divide steamers and corresponding cooking broth into small bowls. If you’re fastidious, I recommend pouring the broth through a cheese cloth to catch any last sand parts, although if you’re a bottle or two of wine into dinner, no one will notice.
  5. Serve with individual butter bowls seasoned with fresh lemon juice.


  1. Rebecka says:

    Your family sounds like a blast and the food sounds divine!

    I love mussels but fresh seafood is difficult to find in the Rocky Mountains. I’ve found a few markets that bring in reasonably fresh clams, mussels and fish but their nothing like fresh from your Seattle waters.

    I really enjoy your blog!! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Erina says:

    Hi Rebecka, so glad you’re enjoying the blog. Thanks for reading! I’ll try and think of some recipes in the coming weeks that would be Rocky Mountains friendly!

  3. EelynnLee says:

    We do it differently though in Malaysia. We steam the clams with rice wine, green chili, and a bit of salt. My friend loves this dish.

  4. Erina says:

    Hi Eelynn Lee…your recipe sounds great! Care to share it? Thanks for reading!

  5. Hi Erina:
    I grew up in Manhattan, NY in the 40’s and 50’s and Malarkey means a lot to me. First off, we used to say to people who bragged ” That’s a bunch of Malarkey” always in fun and always with love attached. The Irish and the Italians always teased each, but they were always there for each other when needed. I tried your recipe and it came out great with a few little changes. Instead of white wine, I used beer( beer and steamers go together) and I always add a half cup of chicken broth. Pour the whole thing over Linguine and fight for the steamers. Just kidding!!

    • Erina says:

      Hi Sal,

      Thanks for reading! The term “Malarkey” does indeed go a long way back and I’m lucky to be part of such an amazing family.

      You comment is well-timed because just a few weekends back we were camping and I was going to make this recipe, but had forgot the white wine. So I used beer instead and it was great. The addition of chicken stock sounds delicious and I love the idea of serving over linguine. This just might be going on the meal plan for this week!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *