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Clams Venetian Style

Venetians have their choice of clams, from the little rounded hard-shell clams called vongole veraci to the pencil-thin razor clams called cannelli that are usually split, brushed with butter and grilled briefly. Cannelli do not travel, however, and are a treat to be enjoyed in Venice. Instead, Francesco offers vongole veraci quickly steamed with oil and garlic; “At one time in my life I made so many of these you could have built a house with the shells,” he says.

– For a Venetian the amount in this recipe would be a half portion. –

It is so important to select the smallest clams and to use a very good, fragrant olive oil. The recipe is equally good with mussels.clams

Clams Venetian Style

Course Appetizer
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4 servings


  • 48 units littleneck or Manila clams or medium-size mussels
  • 1/2 cup (124 ml) Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup (60 mg) dry white wine
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary broken
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Crusty bread


  • Be sure the clams or mussels are well scrubbed. Mussels should be de-bearded.
  • In a large, heavy saucepan, heat the oil.
  • Add the garlic and wine, stir, then add the clams or mussels. Stir, then cover and cook over medium heat until the shells open, about 8 minutes.
  • Transfer the clams or mussels to 2 warm bowls.
  • Strain the juices from the pan through a very fine strainer or a strainer that is lined with a piece of muslin or cheesecloth and pour the juices over the clams or mussels.
  • Scatter the rosemary over each serving and sprinkle with lemon juice.
  • Serve at once with crusty bread.
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