Cooking from a Portuguese perspective

Clams “Bulhão Pato”/Ameijoas à Bulhão Pato

with 2 comments

This is the standard way of serving clams in Portugal, named after the 19th century poet Raimundo António de Bulhão Pato; a simple recipe which brings out the full flavour in the freshest shellfish. Usually served as a starter with toasted bread, the meatiness of the clams with the lemon and parsley is a real flavour burst in the start of any meal.

Clams Bulhão Pato

Clams Bulhão Pato

500gr fresh (live) clams
1 cup roughly chopped coriander
2 finely chopped cloves garlic
3 whole dried chillies
1 juiced lemon
3 tbsp olive oil

1. Wash clams in fresh water to remove outside sand. Clams can be left in salted water (preferably sea water) for a few hours. If you’re worried about sand inside the clams you can sprinkle some flour on the water and leave for 30 minutes. This should make the clams open and therefore releasing any sand inside.

2. Heat up the olive oil in a large pot, add chillies, garlic and stir for a minute (do not overcook).

3. Add clams at high heat and close pot, shaking occasionally until clams are cooked (i.e. until the shells open which should take 3-5 minutes depending on the size of clams, pot etc…).

4. Add lemon juice and coriander. Toss and serve immediately with fresh white bread or toasted bread.


Written by Pedro Rebelo

October 22, 2009 at 9:19 pm

Posted in Fish, Recipes/Receitas

Tagged with , ,

2 Responses

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  1. We traveled through Portugal for 2 weeks in 1990’s just driving west to east and up and down. We did not speak the language and we dont like seafood. BUT we ate grilled sadnines and vino verde and clams Alejente (probably bad spelling) every day.
    We loved the country side and food–except for the development of coast line (destruction of fishing towns).
    I bougt cook books but none had the 2 dishes we loved. Tonight I decided to search (again) but this time on internet—Your recipe sounds like the clams which we fell in love with.Tommorow we will make them for dinner.Thank you. …they should be great.


    January 27, 2010 at 6:23 am

    • Thank you for your comment. There is a recipe called Carne de Porco à Alentejana which includes clams and is sometimes cooked in a cataplana (a bronze covered pan); you might have tried that as well. I’ll put up a recipe for this sometime soon.

      Pedro Rebelo

      January 28, 2010 at 10:40 am

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