The Lexingtonienne



Did you know that I am related to a real live actual chef?


It’s true. My brother-in-law, Brian Duffy, is one of the top chefs in Philadelphia. He’s so dynamic and talented, in fact, that he’s also a TV personality. These days you can catch him on “Bar Rescue” on Spike TV, schoolin’ peeps and rescuing bars. (I am so relieved to know that someone is out there rescuing the bars!)

washing clams

This is him being chef-y in a photo I filched off his Facebook page (kudos to the unknown photographer who took this great shot)…


… and this is him eating Eleanora’s feet.

Uncle Bri eats feet

Several years ago, I called Chef Duffy to find out how to make steamed clams. I followed his instructions and turned out a damn good batch of bivalves.


clams in the pot

Resting on my cockleshelled laurels, I got lazy and never wrote down the instructions. I don’t know about you, but steamed clams aren’t an “everyday food” in our house. I make them a couple of times a year, maybe, and I always have to dig way back into the recesses of my brain (which are getting harder and harder to reach) in order to remember what the Chef told me to do. So this version may be some sort of derivative cousin of his original; that said, Hubba Bubba slurped these up in about two minutes, and the broth was deeeelicious.

wine pour

I also have a confession: I have never eaten a steamed clam. They smell wonderful. They disappear in a matter of minutes, to rave reviews. But… I’m just not a clam girl. How do you know, if you’ve never tried one? you ask. You’re right. I should at least try one. MY POINT IS, even if you’re not into clams, the broth is ridiculously good when you dip crusty French bread in it.

steamed clams

And when all the clams are eaten, you have castanets! You can start a band. Clam-a-lama-ding-dong.

1 lb littleneck clams
1/2 stick butter
1 C dry white wine
2 garlic cloves, minced
A pinch of spicy red pepper flakes
A pinch of chopped flat-leaf parsley
A few turns of freshly ground black pepper
1 baguette, served hot

A note: These measurements are estimates, and you can get chef-y and eyeball it if you want. Feels fancier and funner* that way.

Wash the clams by immersing them in a bowl of water, adding a little cornstarch (the water will look like milk), and swirling everything around pretty vigorously. Repeat this step a couple of times.

In a heavy pot on high heat, melt butter. Add clams and cook, stirring, for about a minute. Add white wine and garlic. Cover the pan and cook, shaking it around a little, until all the clams are open. Some take a little bit longer than others. If any of the clams do not open, throw them out. (Don’t throw out ALL of the clams – just the ones that don’t open.)

Add red pepper flakes, parsley, and black pepper. Serve the clams with the broth poured over them, and that hot baguette on the side.

*Funner is not a word.




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