The easiest way to enjoy fresh shellfish in your backyard or at the beach.
The best thing about these clams—besides the dish-free clean-up—are the endless variations you can do with technique. Replace the parsley with another herb or add more aromatics and spices as you like. Add a bit of chopped tomato, a sprinkle of fresh oregano, and a splash of white wine to the mix, for example. Or use cilantro instead of parsley, a lime instead of a lemon, olive oil instead of butter, and add a minced or sliced jalapeño and a bit of white onion. Or add mint to that mix, use coconut cream instead of butter or oil, use a Thai chile and add some grated fresh ginger. The key is to use a green herb, some kind of aromatic such as garlic or onion, and know you can add a bit of liquid to the mix, switch out the fat, or add a bit of spice or quick-cooking vegetable.
The other option is to use this foil bowl technique and keep it super simple—just a grind or two of pepper over the clams as they open.
- 2 pounds fresh clams or mussels shell on
- 2 cloves garlic peeled and minced
- 1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves chopped
- 4 tablespoons butter cut into small cubes
- 1 lemon sliced and the slices quartered
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Scrub the shellfish and rinse well under cold water. Keep submerged and chilled until ready to cook.
- Light your fire—use medium-high heat for a gas or charcoal grill. If making a campfire, place a grill over the glowing coals once the flames have burned down.
- Overlap two large pieces of foil (at least 18” each so they form a cross—you want to be able to create a roomy package. Place the shellfish in the middle of the foil “cross”, then sprinkle them with the chopped garlic and parsley. Dot the cubes of butter and lemon pieces evenly over top.
- Starting with the top piece of foil, bring the sides up and fold the edges together to create a roomy but tightly sealed package—you want plenty of space for the shells to open up. Do the same with the bottom piece, and then pop the package onto the grill.
- As they cook, the shells will open and release their juices, which mingle with the butter and aromatics to create a savory broth. It should only take 5 to 10 minutes to cook and will be ready when the shells can expand no further. (Think Jiffy Pop, only so much better.)
- Season with salt and pepper and serve with lots of crusty bread to soak up the sauces. Best enjoyed with a crisp white Vancouver Island wine and good friends.
*This recipe comes to us from Edible Vancouver Island. Joanne Sasvari is a Vancouver-based writer, editor and author of Vancouver Eats and The Wickaninnish Cookbook. She’s happiest when grilling food over live fire.