Steamers mean summer. Steamers mean Wellfleet, and sandal-tanned feet, and burnt noses from Newcomb Hollow, and salt-splashed Spencer mysteries, and afternoons at Hatch’s, and gin drinks on the deck, and paddling on the pond, and pine needles, and poker, and hearts.

It’s not summer yet. There are still wool sweaters stacked three high my closet. The linen remains at the dry cleaners. It may have inched up past 90 this week in Brooklyn, but when I left to wander Carroll Garden’s little Sunday greenmarket — piqued with dreams of raspberries and rhubarb — I still returned home clutching a bouquet of garlic.

But also, steamers: two pounds pulled from the sound, cooked quick and rough with spicy sausage and bitter early greens. Two pounds that made a pleasing, teasing taste of summer — at least until the real thing comes along.

3 tablespoons butter
2 stalks green garlic, chopped (use the whole stalk, as you would a scallion)
1/2 large onion
2 links andouille sausage, sliced into 1/2″ rounds
2 lbs. steamer clams
2 cups dandelion greens, rinsed and chopped
salt and pepper
2 cups water

1. Place butter in a large stockpot over medium heat. After 1-2 minutes, when the butter has melted, add garlic, onion, and andouille to the pot. Saute for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion and garlic has begun to soften and the sausage is slightly browned. Add clams, greens, salt, pepper and 1-2 cups water (or just to a 1″ depth in the pot). Then cover pot and steam the clams just until they open, about 5-10 minutes.

2. Pour clams, greens, and broth into a large bowl. If you’re feeling civilized, grab a fork to spear the sausage and dandelion greens, but otherwise just use your fingers to pull the clams from their shells, grasp their “necks,” and peel back any remaining chewy skin. Slurping is mandatory. Serve with crusty bread for dipping, melted butter, and a boatload of cold white wine or an icy lager.


One Response to “5-2-10”

  1. We went to the coast last weekend, and I ate bucketfuls. There were steamers at every dive, and I ate so many I started to feel white wine and garlic soaked. This recipe is a refreshing take, and I can’t wait to get my hands on a little mesh sack of clams and try it. Thanks, Sarah!

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