Your place for traditional Italian recipes
Italian Shellfish Recipes
Clams, Mussels, and Oysters
Baked Stuffed Mussels
Baked Stuffed Mussels
Clams in Tomato Sauce
Steamed Clams with Garlic and Tomatoes
Baked Stuffed Mussels

Mussels and Leeks
Oysters with Pesto
Oysters in Green Sauce
Clams in Tomato Sauce

(Serves 6)


1/2 cup olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup white wine
2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
Salt and pepper
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1-1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
4 pounds little neck clams


Choose a large saucepan that will hold all the clams.

Heat the oil in the saucepan; add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute.
Add the wine and cook for 2 minutes.  Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil.
Season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.  Simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the parsley and clams.  Cover and cook over medium heat, shaking the pan occasionally.  Cook until the clams open.  Discard any clams that do not open.  Serve in soup bowls with crusty Italian bread.
Steamed Clams with Garlic and Tomatoes

(Makes 6 appetizer servings)


1 (750-ml) bottle dry white wine
2 (8-ounce) bottles clam juice
2 large plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
6 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
2-1/2 pounds little neck clams, scrubbed

1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley, divided
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 lemon, cut into wedges

Italian Bread for serving


Put first 6 ingredients into a large saucepan and bring to a boil.
Continue boiling until the liquid is reduced to about 3 cups, about 20 minutes.
Add the clams, cover, and cook until the clams open, about 4 minutes.
Discard any clams that don not open.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer the clams to a large shallow bowl.

Whisk the butter, 1 tablespoon of parsley, and lemon juice into the reduced broth.  Cook until butter is completely melted.  Pour the broth over the clams.
Sprinkle with remaining parsley.  Garnish with lemon wedges.
Serve with slices of crusty, Italian bread.
Baked Stuffed Mussels

(Serves 2 as an entrée or 4 as an appetizer)


3 pounds mussels, scrubbed and de-bearded
1 cup white wine
2 garlic cloves, whole and peeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
6 anchovy fillets, chopped
Pinch of red pepper flakes
2 ounces capers, rinsed
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1-1/2 cups fresh bread crumbs
Juice of 1 lemon

Pecorino cheese for sprinkling


Place mussels in a large saucepan with the wine and garlic, cover.
Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally.
Remove the opened mussels; discard any that do not open.
Strain the juice from the saucepan and reserve.

When the mussels are cool enough to handle, remove one shell from each mussel.  Place the mussels on the half-shells onto a large baking sheet.

In a skillet, sauté the onion in the olive oil until soft and golden.
Add the anchovies, stir them to break them up and blend them into the onion.
Add red pepper flakes, capers, parsley, and bread crumbs.
Stir to combine the ingredients and add a little olive oil to moisten, if necessary.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Top each mussel with a spoonful of the breadcrumb mixture.  Drizzle the mussels with a little olive oil and the lemon juice.  Bake the mussels for 5 minutes.  Remove from the oven and sprinkle with some of the reserved cooking juices.  Sprinkle a little pecorino cheese over each mussel, if desired.  Bake for 5 more minutes.  Serve hot.
Mussels and Leeks

(Serves 4)


2 medium leeks
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons butter, divided
3/4 cup white wine
3/4 cup heavy cream
2-1/2 pounds mussels, cleaned and debearded
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Salt and pepper


Clean the leeks and slice them crosswise into 1/4-inch slices.

In a large skillet, combine the oil and 2 tablespoons butter over medium-low heat.  Add the leeks and garlic and sauté for about 5 minutes.  The leeks should be very soft and sweet to taste.  Add the wine and increase the heat to a simmer.  Allow the wine to cook for 1 minute.

Add the cream and bring to a boil.  Add the mussels and cover the skillet.
Simmer the mussels until they have all opened; discard any that do not open.
Stir in the parsley and remaining tablespoon of butter.  Season with salt and pepper.  Serve in a large bowl with crusty bread.
Oysters with Pesto

(Serves 2 as an appetizer)


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup thinly sliced mushrooms
Salt and pepper
12 medium oysters in shell
12 teaspoons pesto


Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Heat the oil in a small skillet.  Add the mushrooms, salt, and pepper.
Cook over medium heat until the mushrooms begin to brown and liquid is cooked out.  Open the oysters and leave on the half shell.

Top each oyster with 1 teaspoon of pesto.  Spread some of the mushrooms over, completely covering the oyster.  Place the oysters in a baking dish and bake for 5-6 minutes.  Serve hot.
Oysters in Green Sauce

(Makes 8 oysters)


1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
1 cup chopped fresh spinach
2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon pine nuts, finely chopped
2 tablespoons bread crumbs
Pinch red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper
8 medium oysters


Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Heat the oil in a small skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion and sauté until the onion just begins to brown.  Add the spinach, parsley, pine nuts, bread crumbs, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.  Cook over low heat 2 to 3 minutes, until spinach is wilted and flavors are blended.

Open the oysters and leave on the half shell.  Spread 1 teaspoon of the stuffing over each oyster to completely cover it.  Place the oysters in a baking dish and bake for 5-6 minutes.  Serve hot.
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Copyright  2001 - 2023   Sandra Laux
When buying clams, make sure that they are tightly closed or that they will close readily when lightly tapped, an indication that they are alive.  Store them in a bowl of ice in the refrigerator or in a bowl covered with a damp cloth.  Do not keep them in a sealed plastic bag because they will smother.  To clean clams, soak them in cold salted water for 30 minutes. If the shells feel gritty, scrub them with a brush.  Discard any clams with broken shells or that remain open when they are tapped.

Mussels come in different varieties, but they can be used interchangeably.  Farm-raised museels are usually clean and need little preparation. Follow the same procedure  as for purchasing, storing, and cleaning clams.  To remove the beards, which are the small fibers that the mussels use to attach themselves to rocks, cut or pull them off with a knife or your fingers.
Serve clams, mussels,and oysters with garlic bread on the side; it's great for soaking up the juices from the shellfish.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Split a loaf of Italian bread lengthwise into 2 pieces.  Place the bread, cut side up, on a baking sheet.  Stir together finely minced fresh garlic and softened butter.  Spread over both pieces of bread.  Sprinkle some grated Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley over the top.  Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until just starting to turn golden brown.

Some people cringe at the idea of using garlic powder instead of fresh garlic, but for this recipe I find that it works equally as well. Simply spread the butter over the bread, sprinkle generously with garlic powder, add the Parmesan and parsley, and bake.

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