Fish and Seafood, Gluten-free

Steamed Clams in tomato wine sauce

Loreto December 14, 2016

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Steamed Clams in Tomato Wine Sauce, hosting wonderful  flavors of white wine, cherry tomatoes, sauteed yellow and green onions, and a delicious vegetable stock, leaving these  Nanaimo B.C. clams tender and so packed with slow steamed goodness, and  having you savoring each morsel.

Steamed clams in wine tomato sauce

Steamed Clams in Tomato Wine Sauce, a classy and delectable bowl of pure deliciousness, from the broth infused with sauteed onions, herbs, and briny backdrops, to those tiny morsels of the ocean.



I can remember the first time having something that grazed the bottom of the ocean floor. There was a place called Café Select. I was with some clients with whom I was doing some interior design work. They had invited me for dinner and told me I had to try the mussels in white wine sauce. To tell you the truth I had never eaten a mussel. Thirty years old and never touched a mussel, sounds like a Tragically Hip song.  I had some hesitance, but when I smelled the aroma coming from this pot, I had to rethink my reservation towards this type of seafood. I loved it, the rich sauce with its medley of garlic, onion, and herbs. The mussels, plump and delicious. I told my clients who were restaurant owners that I was very grateful that they had introduced me to such an exquisite dish. It came with some beautiful crusted bread, that I was continually dipping into that sauce. A wonderful memory and the beginning of a new journey into the realm of seafood.

Years later, after meeting Nicoletta, she introduced me to steamed clams, in Italian called vongole. In Italy they are very popular tossed with spaghetti.  We made a post about it, here. I have to tell you the first dish we ever eat when we arrive in Italy is Spaghetti con Vongole  (spaghetti with clams), it is one of Nicoletta’s favorites and has become one of mine, and Nicoletta’s dad is very ready and willing to prepare it for her as he is happy she is home. I would have to say the clams in Italy are quite different, of course it may be the fact that they come from the sea and salt water. The ocean clams are bigger, more earthy and have that briny flavor to them. All the same very tasty steamed clams are, in a broth and eaten with some good bread, makes for a delicious meal.

Nicoletta and I, recently found out that St Albert, a city almost touching Edmonton on the north boundaries, has a winter market located in their City Hall. We were aware of the summer one which is always a great one to go to, but hearing this news had our market curiosity going and a Saturday morning trip planned. We noticed a seafood vendor Effing Seafoods, known for his fresh, delicious, sustainable Canadian seafood. The truck is at most of Edmonton’s markets, and we had spoken to him the previous week at La Cité Francophone Market located in the french University Campus St Jean and we bought some great cod fillets. Today he had some fresh clams from Nanaimo, British Columbia, located on Vancover Island, and a hub for fresh sea food, so we thought okay let’s give them a try. Nicoletta is  always unsure, as we are not close to any ocean but they are flown in and she is curious to taste them, so we are both in.

Let’s get crackin’ and create Steamed Clams in Tomato Wine Sauce!

Steamed clams in wine tomato sauce

They way I like to cook is get everything at hands reach, so you will need:

  • Fresh, sustainable, clams, whatever you can find
  • Yellow onion and green onion minced
  • Garlic minced
  • Cherry tomatoes halved
  • Butter and olive oil
  • Fresh flat leaf parsley chopped
  • Dried thyme
  • Vegetable stock
  • Lemon juice
  • White wine
  • Salt and pepper

The prep goes something like this: first soak the clams in some sea salt water, then wash them and scrub them with cold water till no sand remains in the water. If any clams are open don’t use them, they are no good. In a pot add the clams and some new salted water and steam them for a bit till the shells start to open. Take the clams out with some tongs and set aside. Save 1/2 cup of the clam juice and strain it to make sure no sand gets through. Sauté the onion and garlic in the butter and olive oil. Some people ask why put both? Well, the flavors are wonderful together and the olive oil helps the butter not to burn. It forms a protective pool around the butter keeping the temperature just right. The next step, toss in the cherry tomatoes, thyme, clams, some parsley, and stir well getting all those flavors infused into the clams. Pour in the lemon juice, white wine, clam juice, and vegetable stock. Some seasoning of salt and pepper and let it steam on a low to medium heat for a while. Get some nice crusty rustic bread and warm it up in the oven a bit. Scoop out some clams and sauce into a bowl, and get ready to enjoy these steamed clams. If there are clams that have not opened throw them out too, they are no good also.

Steamed clams in wine tomato sauce

The beauty of this dish is evident with the effervescent and crimson colors of the clams. Those cherry tomatoes adding a nice spark of color along with the flat leaf parsley. The flavors amazing, the broth rich in acidity and warmth, as the sweetness of the onion, the garlic, and the tartness of the lemon sooth each other in that delectable white wine and vegetable broth bath, inebriating the steamed clams in its potency. The bread, a great tool to gather up all those juices and into your mouth it goes, makes my mouth water, just thinking about it, and let’s not forget the star of this show, those plump, juicy, briny morsels, reminding us how beautiful this earths waters are and how much it has to offer us with its gems, one that I think of with deep gratitude and respect.

I love scooping up some of the juice with the clam shell and slurping away all that goodness and even the shells that have lost the clam are slurped as well. I don’t want to miss a thing. The blessing is another shell has picked up the lost clam and I say double the flavor, double the fun!

If you are looking for a recipe that is luxurious, exquisite and enjoyable to eat, this is just that. In Italy Christmas Eve is celebrated with a feast of fish and seafood, as meat is never on the menu that night. This would be a welcome dish for this occasion. Or, it would be great for one of those romantic dinners that every couple deserves, to sit back and relax with a chilled glass of white wine, vibing to today’s song and a bowl of this delicious Steamed Clams in Tomato Wine Sauce.  Don’t forget the bread!


Steamed clams in wine tomato sauce

Song of the day: “Your Body is a Wonderland” by John Mayer.

Steamed clams in wine tomato sauce

Steamed Clams in tomato wine sauce

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes


  • 3 lbs B.C. Clams
  • 1/2 yellow onion minced
  • 2 green onions minced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1/2 cup fresh flat leaf parsley chopped
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup clam juice (from steaming the clams)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste



  1. Soak clams in salt water. Scrub and rinse clams with cold water.
  2. Place in a medium pot with cup of salted water. Bring to a boil and steam clams for 3 minutes.
  3. With some tongs take out clams, set aside. Save 1/2 cup clam juice and strain it to make sure no sand gets through.

Steaming stock:

  1. In a large pot heat butter and olive oil, and add in yellow onions, green onions, and garlic. Saute till soft.
  2. Toss in cherry tomatoes.
  3. Sprinkle thyme and parsley, reserve some for garnishing.
  4. Add in clams, white wine, lemon juice, clam juice and vegetable broth. Simmer for 1/2 hour.


  1. Spoon clams and some broth into a bowl.
  2. Sprinkle with some fresh chopped parsley.
  3. Serve with a nice rustic crusty bread.
  4. Enjoy!


  • Serving Size: 4 servings
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Steamed clams in wine tomato sauce

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  • Avatar
    Reply Marie-Pierre Breton December 14, 2016 at 9:44 am

    Soooo delicious! I mean simple is always better. Love this recipe, great flavors and wonders!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto December 14, 2016 at 10:07 am

      Thank you Marie, it was a wonderful dish and we will be trying some steamed mussels in the future so stay tuned!
      Have a great day!

  • Avatar
    Reply Redawna December 14, 2016 at 10:37 am

    This reminds me of my last trip to Seattle. There is nothing better then sitting in an open air restaurant by the ocean eating clams that we harvested earlier that day! Perfection in every bite!

    This is very similar to how I make steamed mussels, another favourite! I am thinking I need to have a seafood feast soon.

    I have heard about Effing Seafood, I look forward to doing business with them one day soon.

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto December 14, 2016 at 10:45 am

      Hi Redawna, thank you for the comment. We were in Seattle a few years ago, loved it and yes the fresh seafood was fantastic. Love those memories and love that the post ignited yours. This is what makes writing so worth while.
      Have a wonderful day

  • Avatar
    Reply Amanda Orlando December 14, 2016 at 10:58 am

    This is my dad’s favorite thing to eat, period. And I love it too because it feels homey and nostalgic. Thanks for sharing your recipe!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto December 14, 2016 at 2:45 pm

      Hi Amanda, thank you for the comment. I love that your father loves clams and period! so cute. It is a classic nostalgic dish and it makes me feel like being in a cabin just off the ocean. Wonderful thought!
      Have a great night

  • Avatar
    Reply Kathy @ Beyond the Chicken Coop December 16, 2016 at 7:34 am

    This look magnificent! I love how simple this dish is….just the best ingredients for an amazing dish.

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto December 16, 2016 at 9:24 am

      Thank you Kathy, sometimes simple is best and when you have great ingredients it makes it all the more easy to creat these beautiful and tasty dishes.
      Have a great weekend!

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