A flavorful Summer-y recipe for grilled Manila clams with a tasty lemon herb butter. Simple and delicious! Gluten free.

Grilled Manila Clams with Lemon Herb Butter | via forkknifeswoon.com

Grilled Manila Clams for Summer

One thing we really love about our house is the backyard, which drops off steeply at the edge of our deck to a creek below. There’s an incredible amount of borrowed landscape, and combined with our unusually-shaped corner lot, it feels, especially in the Summer, when greenery is most abundant, like we’re surrounded by nothing but stoic pines, leafy maples, sloping, overgrown hillside and more than our fair share of blackberry brambles.

In the warmer months we try to spend as much time as possible back there, eating, gardening, relaxing, simply living outside. The blackberries are just now starting to bloom, a signal that it’s not long before those balmy, languid, wonderful days are upon us, and I’m giddy with anticipation.

I think of our truly perfect Pacific Northwest summers as a reward – for making it through our notoriously long and rainy winters – and I liiiiiive for the pervasive sunshine that ushers in plenty of opportunity for al fresco cooking and dining.

Grilled Manila Clams with Lemon Herb Butter | via forkknifeswoon.com
Grilled Manila Clams with Lemon Herb Butter | via forkknifeswoon.com

Summer Seafood

One of the things that we enjoy grilling is local seafood, and today I’m sharing a super delicious and simple recipe that’s perfect for those long, Summer evenings: grilled Manila clams.

Living right on the coast, we’re fortunate to have access to tons of super fresh, local seafood. I try to buy from fishmongers at the many area farmers markets, but even Costco and the grocery stores around us carry an inspiring selection of locally-sourced fish and shellfish.

I’ve long eyed the saltwater clam and oyster tanks, and decided fresh Manila clams (common off the Pacific coast) would make for a fun, inaugural recipe to kick off the grilling season.

I’m of the mind that great, fresh seafood needs very little else. When it comes to clams (or oysters, or shrimp for that matter), lemon, butter, fresh herbs and garlic, plus maybe a little dry white wine, are all it takes for a truly spectacular meal.

Grilling the clams over charcoal – instead of the traditional method of steaming – adds a lovely, subtle smokiness that elevates the flavors of the dish even further.

Grilled Manila Clams with Lemon Herb Butter | via forkknifeswoon.com
Grilled Manila Clams with Lemon Herb Butter | via forkknifeswoon.com

Grilling Fresh Clams

This might sound intimidating – at least it was for me my first attempt – but it’s actually surprisingly easy. Clams and mussels are helpful in that they tell you when they’re fully cooked.

As soon as the shells pop open, they’re ready to come off the heat, take a bath in some herb-y butter, and be devoured.

If you don’t have a grill, or would prefer to make these indoors, you can easily adapt the recipe to your range top and steam these babies. Simply add a splash of good, dry white wine (something you would drink!) to the butter mixture, cover, and steam until the clams pop open. Easy.

Now, ordinarily I would recommend eating with utensils, but these clams truly are best shelled and eaten by hand. Don’t be tempted by propriety. Dive in and enjoy the goodness, slurps and all.

Grilled Manila Clams with Lemon Herb Butter | via forkknifeswoon.com
Grilled Manila Clams with Lemon Herb Butter | via forkknifeswoon.com

The flavors are so classic and Summer-y here, guys. Butter melting into lemon, garlic, and herbs. The subtle, salty brininess of fresh clams. Crispy, grilled sourdough bread to soak up the buttery sauce, and a crisp, dry white wine to wash it all down with.

It’s a deliciously messy meal best eaten outside, with your hands, with friends, in glowing Summer evening light… Enjoy!!

Grilled Manila Clams with Lemon Herb Butter | via forkknifeswoon.com
Grilled Manila Clams with Lemon Herb Butter | via forkknifeswoon.com
Grilled Manila Clams with Lemon Herb Butter | via forkknifeswoon.com

If you make these lemon grilled manila clams, be sure to leave a comment and rating below letting me know how you liked them! ★★★★★ Star ratings are especially helpful because they help others find my recipes too. xo, Laura

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Grilled Manila Clams with Lemon Herb Butter | via forkknifeswoon.com

Grilled Manila Clams with Lemon Herb Butter

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  • Author: Fork Knife Swoon
  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 45 mins
  • Yield: Serves 2-4 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 lbs Manila clams, scrubbed
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 cloves (about 11/2 Tbsp) fresh garlic, minced
  • juice from one lemon
  • small handful fresh parsley, minced
  • 1 Tbsp chives, minced
  • kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

Prepare the lemon herb butter

  1. In a medium skillet, melt the butter over medium heat (on either on a range or outdoor grill). Add the garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden and fragrant, 1-2 minutes.
  2. Add the lemon juice and herbs and continue cooking for another minute. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside to cool.

Grill the clams

  1. Prepare a medium-heat charcoal fire, or heat a gas grill to medium-high.
  2. Place the clams directly on the grill (or preferably in a perforated grill pan). Cover with the grill lid, and grill until the clams just pop open, about 6-8 minutes. Discard any that do not open.
  3. Transfer the clams to a large platter or divide among bowls, reserving as much clam juice as possible. Spoon the butter over top. Serve immediately with fresh lemon wedges and crispy grilled bread. Enjoy!

Notes

Alternatively, you can steam the clams in a large skillet: Begin with step one, and add 1/2 cup of good dry white wine (something you would drink) along with the lemon juice and herbs in step two. Let simmer for a few minutes, then add the clams, cover, and let cook over medium heat until the clams just pop open, about 6-8 minutes.

This recipe was originally created in partnership with Bounty Advanced Paper Towels. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Fork Knife Swoon!