Steamed clams in creamy beer sauce is a variation of my mother’s recipe for mussels. Every Summer she makes mussels in a creamy white wine sauce with fresh herbs and we make a meal out of it, because why not? I was lucky enough to grow up learning about this stuff and see how easy it is to make.
How to Steam Clams
When it comes to steamers or mussels, it’s a “done in 10 minutes” dinner or appetizer. It’s as simple as steaming the clams in a lidded saucepan in whatever sauce you choose—simple or complex. From a creamy ale sauce, arrabbiata sauce, or water, just cover and simmer for 5 minutes until the shells open.
I used to steam clams in a creamy wine sauce until I went to my favorite local craft brewery in Portsmouth, NH. Their ale house mussels consisted of cream, spices, fresh herbs, and a pale ale. So obviously I ditched the wine from that day forward because beer is so much better than wine.
Besides the beer, the best part about these steamers is the cayenne pepper. It adds a phenomenal subtle spicy kick. The ale sauce just needs a hint of spice to pull it all together.
Lastly, the toast…yes THE TOAST, don’t underestimate or skip the toast. At restaurants, steamed clams or mussels are always served with toasted french bread on the side for dipping. A delicious step that must not be forfeited. The crunchy bread will soak up the creamy ale sauce and rock your world. It’s great for sharing or not sharing at all!Print
Steamed clams in a simple creamy ale sauce made with cream, spices, garlic, fresh herbs, and a pale ale or IPA.
- 2–3 pounds little neck clams
- 2 cups ale or pale ale
- 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
- 1/3 cup cream
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 lemon, juice squeezed
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Serve with toasted french bread
- Rinse the clams under cool water, scrubbing any sand or dirt off the shells. Discard any that are open and won’t close when tapped on a firm surface (these are dead). Set aside.
- In a large lidded saucepan, add the beer, onion, butter, lemon juice, garlic, basil, and cayenne pepper and bring to a boil on medium-high heat. Carefully add the clams to the simmering sauce, then cover and steam until fully opened, about 5 minutes.
- While the clams are steaming, toast slices of french bread for dipping.
- After the 5 minutes is up, add the cream to the saucepan, stir once, and let simmer for one additional minute.
- Serve in bowls with creamy ale sauce so the clams stay warm. Serve with toasted french bread.
Keywords: steamed clams, how to steam clams, steamers recipe