Culinary SOS: Steamed Manila clams

Dear SOS: Over the Christmas holiday season, we quartered at the beautiful Heathman Lodge, Vancouver, Wash., to be near relatives in both Oregon and Washington, and enjoyed its renowned Hudson's Bar and Grill. Among other marvelous presentations was its steamed Manila clams. Do you suppose its chef, Brendan Callaghan, would share his recipe?

Robert E. Tumelty

Seal Beach

Dear Robert: Hudson's Grill was happy to share its recipe for steamed Manila clams, which we've adapted below.

Hudson's steamed Manila clams

Total time:20 minutes

Servings: 2

Note: Adapted from Hudson's Bar and Grill at the Heathman Lodge in Vancouver, Wash. You will need a sauce pan or stock pot with a tight-fitting lid, large enough to hold the clams comfortably, no more than two deep. Before cooking the clams, soak them for 30 minutes in brine (dissolve 1 cup kosher salt in 1 gallon cold water) to encourage the clams to purge themselves of any sand they may be holding inside. After 30 minutes of brining, drain the clams and give them a quick rinse under cold running water, scrubbing as necessary to remove excess mud.

2 tablespoons thinly sliced shallot

1 cup dry white wine

1 teaspoon minced garlic

Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

2 pounds manila clams

2 tablespoons butter, more if desired

2 tablespoons fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley

Salt and pepper to taste

1. In a large, heavy-bottomed sauce pan or small pot, combine the shallot, wine, garlic and pepper flakes over high heat.

2. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook 2 to 3 minutes to marry the flavors. Add the clams and butter, cover the pot and reduce the heat so the liquid gently steams.

3. Steam the clams until they have opened, 2 to 3 minutes, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Be sure to discard any clams that have not opened. Serve hot with a few slices of toasted crusty bread.

Each serving:

310 calories; 18 grams protein; 9 grams carbohydrates; 0 fiber; 13 grams fat; 7 grams saturated fat; 76 mg cholesterol; 2 grams sugar; 829 mg sodium.