Total Time: 30 minutes
- 4 pounds clams
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 leeks, white parts only, finely chopped
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
- 1 cup white wine
1. Rinse the clams under cold running water while scrubbing with a vegetable brush. Discard any clams with broken shells.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the leeks, garlic, and thyme and cook until the vegetables cook down to a pulp, about 5 minutes. Add the clams and toss to coat. Add the white wine, cover and steam over medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes, or until the clams open. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and stir to incorporate. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with thyme sprigs and serve immediately.
Clams are particularly high in vitamin B12, selenium, iron, and manganese. That makes them excellent for supporting healthy blood cells and protecting them against cellular damage. The nutrients in clams make them valuable for thyroid health, nerve health, and treating or preventing iron-deficiency anemia. Each 100 grams of cooked clams (mixed species) contains:
- 396 mg of omega-3 fats
- 1648% of the RDA for vitamin B12
- 91% of the RDA for selenium
- 155% of the RDA for iron
- 37% of the RDA for vitamin C
- 50% of the RDA for manganese
- 34% of the RDA for phosphorus
- 18% of the RDA for potassium
- 18% of the RDA for zinc
- 34% of the RDA for copper
- 10% of the RDA for thiamin
- 25% of the RDA for niacin
- 11% of the RDA for vitamin A
Some people avoid clams because of concerns of toxicity. Clams obtain food by pumping water through their system and filtering out small organisms. If large numbers of the toxic algae are present in the water, then the shellfish can accumulate high levels of the toxin. One example of a toxin producing algae bloom is the “red tide” which produces a toxin that can cause Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning. The potential safety risks associated with toxins in raw bivalve shellfish are usually directly related to the quality of the waters in which they have lived. In Seattle, we have some of the most pristine water in the world. This makes us some very happy clams!
If that doesn’t ease your mind, The FDA and coastal state governments oversee a program that sets standards for shellfish growing waters and ensures that these waters are regularly tested. This system, called the National Shellfish Sanitation Program, is designed to ensure that shellfish harvested from certified waters do not contain these naturally occurring toxins. This program has helped protect consumers for many years and large amounts of raw clams and oysters are consumed without incident.