Amêijoas à Bulhão Pato – Portuguese Recipe for Clams
About 2000 years ago, the Roman philosopher Seneca said “Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind.” Two millennia later, and because human essence hasn’t fundamentally changed, this quote still holds true. As a consequence of the global pandemic, travel may be limited. But change of place, even if it’s driven by our imagination and leveraging the use of technology, is definitely still a possibility!
If you have been following us on Instagram, you’ve probably seen one of our Taste of Lisboa at Home sessions, which happen live every Sunday at 7 PM, Lisbon time. We have spoken about food, culture and wine, cooked incredible recipes live, talked with peers and partners in other parts of Portugal, even attempted to teach you a little bit of Portuguese language… you name it! With the same spirit we welcome you here in Lisbon, we have created these live sessions to share the best of Portuguese food, history and culture with you. No matter where in the world you are.
During yesterday’s session, Taste of Lisboa host Susana talked about the Atlantic Diet and the most common ingredients and flavors you are bound to find when you eat around Portugal. She also shared an easy yet irresistible recipe for clams, which goes by the name Ameijoas à Bulhão Pato, that is, clams Bulhão Pato style, which we summarize here so that you can follow the steps and recreate it at home.
Did Bulhão Pato create this clam dish?
Bulhão Pato is a name many Portuguese and even foreigners who love Portuguese food would have heard of. Raimundo António de Bulhão Pato was a 19th century poet, but very few actually know this. Oddly enough, the writer’s name lived on because of clams, and not because of his literary creations.
Even though Bulhão Pato was a well-known gourmand back in his days, he had no business in the creation of this recipe. He mentioned a cook in one of his writings, who lived on to develop this dish and eventually named it as a tribute to the poet. The name of the actual chef? Sadly, that one didn’t make it to the history books….
Clams Bulhão Pato, the recipe:
This mouthwatering Portuguese seafood recipe is actually quite easy to make!
Ingredients for 4 servings:
5 cloves of garlic
4Tbsp olive oil
250ml white wine
1 bunch of cilantro
Wash the clams very well to remove any sand that may still be inside the shells. Place the clams in a recipient with holes and under running water, moving them around with your fingers to aid the washing process. Be gentle as not to detach the flesh of the clams from the actual shells.
Heat up a fairly deep frying pan or pot, add in the olive oil, and sauté the minced onions and garlic in olive oil. When they are golden, add the stalks of chopped cilantro and the clams.
Pour in the white wine, cover the pot, and let it all cook for about 5 minutes. Every now and then, shake the pot to make sure all the ingredients get cooked thoroughly.
Finish off with some more cilantro, this time using the tender cilantro leaves, and a generous squeeze of lemon. Serve with lots of bread because you will certainly want to soak up that delicious sauce until the very last drop!
Susana’s secret ingredient tip: one Tbsp of butter melted in the end.
Make it Vegan!
As Susana mentioned during the live session, it’s very easy to turn this recipe into a vegetarian or even vegan treat. Simply replace the seafood by mushrooms, and follow the same cooking steps. What truly makes this dish is the sauce. So feel free to be creative, whether it is with vegetables or other shells like mussels!
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