Clams “Bulhão Pato”/Ameijoas à Bulhão Pato

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.

Published by

Pedro Rebelo

Pedro is a composer, sound artist and performer. In 2002, he was awarded a PhD by the University of Edinburgh where he conducted research in both music and architecture. Pedro has recently led participatory projects involving communities in Belfast, favelas in Maré, Rio de Janeiro, travelling communities in Portugal and a slum town in Mozambique. This work has resulted in sound art exhibitions at venues such as the Metropolitan Arts Centre, Belfast, Centro Cultural Português Maputo, Espaço Ecco in Brasilia and Parque Lage and Museu da Maré in Rio, Museu Nacional Grão Vasco and MAC Nitéroi. His music has been presented in venues such as the Melbourne Recital Hall, National Concert Hall Dublin, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Ars Electronica, Casa da Música, and in events such as Weimarer Frühjahrstage fur zeitgenössische Musik, Wien Modern Festival, Cynetart and Música Viva. His work as a pianist and improvisor has been released by Creative Source Recordings and he has collaborated with musicians such as Chris Brown, Mark Applebaum, Carlos Zingaro, Evan Parker and Pauline Oliveros as well as artists such as Suzanne Lacy. His writings reflect his approach to design and creative practice in a wider understanding of contemporary culture and emerging technologies. Pedro has been Visiting Professor at Stanford University (2007), senior visiting professor at UFRJ, Brazil (2014) and Collaborating Researcher at INEM-md Universidade Nova, Lisboa (2016). He has been Music Chair for international conferences such as ICMC 2008, SMC 2009, ISMIR 2012 and has been invited keynote speaker at ANPPOM 2017, ISEA 2017, CCMMR 2016 and EMS 2013. At Queen's University Belfast, he has held posts as Director of Education, Director of Research and Head of School. In 2012 he was appointed Professor of Sonic Arts at Queen's and awarded the Northern Bank's "Building Tomorrow's Belfast" prize. He has recently been awarded two major grants from the Arts and Humanities Research Council including the interdisciplinary project “Sounding Conflict”, investigating relationships between sound, music and conflict situations. Ongoing research interests include immersive sound design and augmented listening experiences. Pedro has been appointed Director of the Sonic Arts Research Centre in 2021.

2 thoughts on “Clams “Bulhão Pato”/Ameijoas à Bulhão Pato”

  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.

    1. 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.

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