Clams Steamed with Tarragon


Steamed clams with fresh tarragon, butter and white wine.  I think if you close your eyes you can hear seagulls and the splash of the tide.

Life  when my kids were 8, 7, 4 and 2 was undeniable hectic. BUT, some things were just easier.  The main thing was logistics.  Basically, if one kid did something we all did it. We all napped.  Ok, they all napped while I cleaned. We all went to the pool.  We all went to the park. We all went on vacation.  NOW my kids are 18,17,15 and 11.  Each with their own interests and schedules. As a result, vacation just didn’t happen this year. Every time I tried to pick a weekend one or more of my kids had some unavoidable commitment that prevented him or her from being available.  When did my kids become “unavailable” for vacation. Now I guess.  So this year we didn’t make it to the ocean. Insert sad face emoji!!

In an attempt to salvage a glimpse of vacation life I wanted to make something that would remind me of my days at the shore. A dish that could evoke simple summer afternoons filled with care free timelessness, the feeling of sunshine on your skin and the briny scent of the sea air. So, today I’m making steamed clams with tarragon. Yes, I think it is entirely possible for a good dish to transport you to another time and place if only for a fleeting second.  Sometimes that’s enough to wash over our souls and refresh us for what lies ahead.

Clams_steamed_with_tarragon_Tableanddish-6246Clams_steamed_with_tarragon_Tableanddish-6274Clams_steamed_with_tarragon_Tableanddish-6320There are many flavor combinations you can use when steaming clams. I’m a simple girl so usually I always include garlic (my first love) butter and white wine. I make them frequently so I change up the seasonings from time to time. I’ve been playing around with different flavors. Sometimes I like to add fresh ginger, sliced fennel, fresh tomatoes, cumin, garlic and coconut milk. Fresh parsley or cilantro added just before serving always give it a nice clean, bright flavor. I encourage you to experiment with different flavor combinations. If you come up with your own good combinations send us a comment. Tell us your favorites so we can give it a try.


Basic Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
  • about 8 chopped cherry tomatoes or one diced fresh roma tomato
  • 2 ½ pounds littleneck clams (about 30 clams), scrubbed
  • ¼ cup minced chives
  • Grated zest of 1 lime
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 ½ tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped flat leaf parsley



  • In a medium pot or large straight-sided skillet with a lid, warm oil over medium heat.
  • Add garlic and tarragon. Cook until garlic is slightly softened, about 2 minutes.
  • Add tomatoes and white wine.
  • Stir in clams and cover pot.
  • Cook until clams open, 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Use a slotted spoon or tongs to remove clams from pot, place into serving dish. (Discard any clams that don’t open.)
  • Stir chives, lime zest and red pepper flakes into the pan sauce and let cook for 20 seconds.
  • Stir in butter and lime juice, whisking until butter melts and sauce thickens slightly.
  • Spoon pan juices over clams. Garnish with parsley. Serve immediately.

Don’t be intimidated by clams. They come in a bag of 50 or by the pound.  Always buy them from a reputable fish monger who’s supply is fresh daily.   You simply rinse them off and toss them in the pan. When they open they are done. Easy Easy Easy.


Stop here in this moment to take a deep breath and enjoy the aroma of the flavors while you let the pace of the day melt away.

Serve your clams with crusty bread for dipping. A sourdough loaf or multigrain baguettes will do the job nicely. Grill slices or serve it cold, either way it will take fantastic dipped in this broth.

Clams_steamed_with_tarragon_Tableanddish-6255Clams_steamed_with_tarragon_Tableanddish-6347If your looking for a well rounded meal I usually serve a salad and roasted vegetable with clams. You can find more inspiration HERE.

If you use instagram or twitter be sure to follow me.  If you try any of my dishes and post pictures of them tag them #tableanddish or tag me @tableanddish so I can follow you. You can see mine at  Table and Dish on Instagram. I love seeing the variations my friends come up with.


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