Sunday, November 1, 2009

Steamed Top Neck Clams with White Wine, Thyme and Herbed Cheese

Perfecting steamed clams has been elusive to me until recently. At the market, fishmongers have guided me that the best eating clams are little necks. The common instruction has been that Little Necks Clams are steaming clams and Top Neck Clams are more for soups and stews.

Little necks clams are small and delicate. They are good but I was always a little disappointed because I expected more flavor. A few months ago, I followed my gut, picked up some Top Neck Clams and discovered that this clam had the more intense taste and texture I was looking for. I enjoy the flavor of a clam that is meaty and slightly chewy. I’m sure Little Necks have a place in a dish but to me Top Neck Clams are a better eating clam. Top Neck Clams are about double the size of Little Neck Clams and have a much more pronounced ‘clam’ flavor. Try 'em, they're good!

Steamed Top Neck Clams in a Thyme Wine Sauce

1 dozen top neck clams
1 cup dry white wine
1 ½ tbsp an herb cheese
2 sprigs of thyme – pull leaves off
2 tbsp fresh flat leaf Italian parsley - finely chopped
1/ 2 lemon cut in quarters
1 ½ tbsp butter

In a medium stockpot with lid on medium high heat, add wine and bring to a simmer for three minutes. Stir in herb cheese and thyme. Add clams and cover with lid to steam until clams open, about 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon place clams in a serving dish. Add parsley to the steaming liquid and pour over clams. Serve with lemon and melted butter on the side.


  1. Umm, does sound good. Would like know a bit more about what kind of herb cheese you would recommend.

  2. Thanks for the question. I'm fond of using Boursin. Your favorite herbed goat cheese would also work well in this dish.