Portugal’s traditional Clams à Bulhao Pato are named after the 19th century poet, Raimundo António de Bulhão Pato. He was so enamoured by the light and fresh seafood dish he regularly wrote about it in his work.
These clams bring back many fond memories of the our time in the Algarve region of Portugal. Our apartment was in an area untouched by mass tourism just down the coast from Faro. We soon learned to love the simple local food and this clam recipe is typical.
Most fish and shellfish were plentiful and cheap and an early morning walk to the fish market to choose lunch and dinner was part of our daily routine.
My wife and I recently revisited Quarteira and to our surprise, other than a greatly upgraded sea front promenade with modern facilities, not much had changed. And yes, we had the clams.
Served with fresh crusty bread and washed down with a glass of local vino verde, heaven!
Portuguese wines have massively grown in popularity in the UK in recent years. Some really good everday vino verde’s are available. Aldi and Tesco both do one that is very drinkable and goes well with the clams.
Clams à Bulhao Pato
- 300 g fresh clams
- 2 garlic cloves thinly sliced
- 20 g coriander stalks and all
- 100 ml Vinho Verde alternatively you can use a fresh white wine
- 100 ml olive oil
- ½ lemon
- Soak the fresh clams in water which has been sprinkled with salt for one hour.
- Drain and rinse under water a couple of times in order to remove the sand.
- If there are clams that are not fully closed, or the shells are damaged, discard them.
- In a pan, heat the olive oil and add the garlic.
- Cook the garlic until golden.
- Add in the washed clams and stir.
- Add the wine, half of the coriander and cover the pan with a lid.
- Once the clams have opened squeeze the lemon juice and stir the sauce.
- Serve with the remaining coriander leaves atop the cooked clams.