Friday, 5 April 2013

Clams And Bacon In A White Wine Cream Sauce

clams and bacon in a white wine clotted cream sauce
Pile O'Clams
I'm a huge fan of Shellfish, I wish that I could eat it every day but my local fishmonger only opens Thursday to Sunday with the real good stuff only being brought in fresh on a Friday. I don't like to freeze my shellfish, so the window for optimum freshness is quite small, at weekends you'll usually find me peeling or picking away for hours at some sort of shellfish, I find this a bit of a comforting ritual I've had since childhood.

Saying that, these Clams were actually bought frozen. My fishmonger can get hold of them fresh if ordered specifically but they're the really huge ones and they come in a big net bag which I've always thought would be way too much for me alone. It was only yesterday that The Glutenite tried Clams and established that he likes them, still I think the size of the fresh ones might push him over the edge, he's not a shellfish lover like me but I'm really glad he gave this a go, I've been wanting to document a Clam recipe for ages.

When I started thinking about what dish I could create around the Clams I initially thought back to a Gordon Ramsay show that was on a year or so ago. He was in Vietnam and was shown how to grill them over an open fire, it was so simplistic and yet so refined, problem I encountered was that the frozen Clams I had were just way too small to be grilling, I had to have a rethink. Check out the video though, it's mouth watering.

I too wanted something really simple but with a somewhat rich sauce, my experimentation resulted in Clams With Bacon in White Wine and Cream. Here's how to make it if you so desire:

To serve 2 people as a main with a side dish or a starter without.


1kg Clams
7 Rashers of Smoked Streaky Bacon
1 Small Onion
5 Garlic Cloves
15g Butter
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Heaped Tablespoon Clotted Cream
250ml Dry White Wine
150ml Cold Water
2 Tablespoons Squid Brand Fish Sauce
1 Tablespoon Dried Parsley

clams bacon white wine clotted cream sauce close up
Looking At This Is Making Me Incredibly Hungry
  • Peel and finely chop the onion
finely chopped onion
Haven't Had Onion Tears In A While
  • Peel and mince the garlic cloves
  • Roughly cut the bacon into small strips
strips of bacon
Any Excuse For Bacon
  • Heat the butter and oil in a large pan on medium-high (a wok is great)
  • Once the butter has melted add the onion and sweat until soft
  • Add the bacon, garlic and parsley
  • Stir often until the bacon is cooked
onion bacon garlic parsley frying
The Flavour Base Of The Sauce
  • Add the wine, water, fish sauce and bring to the boil
bacon cooking in wine
Bacon And Wine, My Kind Of Combination
  • Simmer for a couple of minutes, taste and add salt if needed*
  • Put the clams into the pot give a good stir and cover with a lid
steaming clams in white wine
Clams Steaming In The Juicy Goodness
  • Cook for 5 - 6 minutes, uncover and stir if any of the clams at the top don't open**
  • Ladle into big bowls
clams in white wine sauce
Kind Of Neat Presentation For Once
Printable Version

* I expected it to have enough salt content from the bacon, fish sauce and clam juice but surprisingly I did need to add salt to mine for a full balanced flavour. Always test as directed as you may be using saltier bacon than me and not need extra.

**As with Mussels, never cook an open Clam and never eat a closed one by prying it open.

To make this a main dish I served it with Sauteed Potatoes, there's a lot of shell in that dish but not much Clam meat.

empty clam shells in a bowl


4 Medium White Potatoes
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
25g Butter
Pinch of Sea Salt

sauteed potatoes in the pan
Kind Of Forget To Photo The End Result
  • Peel your potatoes if preferred or wash and dry if not. 
  • Dice the potatoes 
  • Melt the butter and oil in a large pan
  • Add the potatoes
  • Stir every few minutes until golden around 20 - 25 minutes on a medium heat
The Clams in White Wine weren't as simplistic as just grilling them but it was only a matter of adding everything to one pan so I still got my really easy recipe. The Clotted Cream added the richness I was looking for and all the flavours made for a really full bodied sauce that I sipped with a soup spoon.

Have to say, I'm not usually a fan of shellfish that's been frozen but these Clams were really lovely both in texture and in taste. If fresh isn't an option I would definitely keep a bag of these in my freezer to cook on a whim.

And so to the weekend! Well, nearly. I have a huge gluten free cooking task ahead of me. I may be back on Monday with a killer recipe or it may be a disaster. Around 7.30pm I should know which. 


  1. I love your pictures and recipes, they are mouth watering. Would love for you to share them with us at We are new but at we are not photography snobs, we are just foodies.

  2. Sounds like my kind of site! I'll be signing up today, thanks :)


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