Clams are a delicious seafood option that can be enjoyed in many ways.
Whether you’re steaming, frying, or baking clams, there are plenty of sauces to choose from that will enhance their flavor and texture.
From classic buttery garlic sauce to spicy tomato-based marinara, the possibilities for pairing your favorite clam dishes with the perfect sauce are endless.
In this article, I’ll discuss 10 of the best sauces for clams and how to use them in your cooking.
Why Serve A Sauce with Clams?
Serving a sauce with clams is an excellent way to enhance the flavor of this seafood delicacy.
Clams are naturally briny and sweet, but adding a flavorful sauce can take them to the next level.
Here are three reasons why you should serve a sauce with clams:
- To add complexity – A good sauce will bring out the natural sweetness of the clam while also adding layers of flavor that would otherwise be missing. Sauces like garlic butter or white wine cream sauces can provide depth and complexity that will elevate your dish from ordinary to extraordinary.
- To balance flavors – Clams have a strong taste, so pairing them with something milder like a lemon-butter or tomato-basil sauce helps to create balance in your dish by cutting through some of the brininess without overpowering it completely.
- To add texture – The right type of sauce can also help to add texture and contrast to your dish, making it more interesting for diners who may not be used to eating clams on their own. For example, creamy sauces such as Alfredo or béchamel pair nicely with steamed clams and give them an extra bit of richness that makes them even more enjoyable!
The 10 Best Sauces for Clams
Clams are a delicious seafood to enjoy and they can be cooked with different sauces.
Here are the ten best sauces for clams that will bring out their delicate flavor and create a mouth-watering dish:
1. White Wine Sauce
White wine sauce is a classic French sauce made from white wine, butter, shallots, and cream.
It’s a rich and creamy sauce that pairs perfectly with seafood dishes like clams.
- To Make It: To make white wine sauce, start by melting butter in a pan over medium heat. Add chopped shallots and cook until softened. Pour in the white wine and simmer for about 5 minutes to reduce the liquid slightly. Then add heavy cream and bring to a boil before reducing the heat to low. Simmer for 10-15 minutes until thickened, stirring occasionally. Finally, season with salt and pepper to taste before serving over your favorite seafood dish!
- Common Uses: White wine sauce is most commonly served with seafood dishes such as clams or mussels but can also be used as an accompaniment for fish or chicken dishes. The creamy texture of this sauce makes it perfect for adding richness to any meal without overpowering the flavor of the main ingredients.
2. Browned Butter Sauce
Browned butter sauce is a simple yet flavorful sauce made by cooking butter until it turns golden brown and develops a nutty aroma.
The result is an intensely flavored, richly colored sauce that can be used to enhance the flavor of many dishes.
- To Make It: To make browned butter sauce, start by melting unsalted butter in a skillet over medium heat. Once melted, continue to cook the butter until it begins to foam and turn golden brown in color. This should take about 5 minutes or so. Once the desired color has been achieved, remove from heat and add any additional ingredients such as garlic or herbs for extra flavor.
- Common Uses: Browned butter sauce is commonly used as a finishing touch for seafood dishes such as clams, mussels, scallops, shrimp, and lobster. It can also be used to top vegetables like roasted Brussels sprouts or steamed broccoli; tossed with cooked pasta; drizzled over grilled meats; or served alongside pancakes or waffles for breakfast.
3. Spicy Tomato Sauce
Spicy tomato sauce is a type of tomato-based sauce that has been spiced up with chili peppers, garlic, and other spices.
It can be used as a condiment or as an ingredient in dishes such as pasta sauces, pizza toppings, and stews.
- To Make It: To make spicy tomato sauce, start by sautéing onions and garlic in olive oil until they are softened. Then add canned tomatoes (crushed or diced) to the pan along with some red pepper flakes for heat. Simmer the mixture for about 10 minutes before adding fresh herbs like oregano and basil. Finally, season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.
- Common Uses: Spicy tomato sauce is commonly used on pizzas or pastas but it can also be served alongside seafood dishes such as clams or mussels. The spicy kick from the chili peppers pairs nicely with the briny flavor of shellfish while still allowing their natural flavors to shine through.
4. Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
Roasted red pepper sauce is a creamy, flavorful sauce made from roasted red peppers, garlic, olive oil, and other seasonings.
It has a slightly sweet flavor with a hint of smokiness from the roasted peppers.
- To Make It: To make roasted red pepper sauce, start by roasting the peppers in the oven until they are charred and blistered. Then remove them from the oven and let cool before peeling off their skins. Next, combine the peeled peppers with garlic cloves, olive oil, salt and pepper in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Finally, adjust seasoning to taste if desired.
- Common Uses: Roasted red pepper sauce can be used as a dip for vegetables or chips; as an accompaniment to grilled meats such as chicken or steak; over pasta dishes; on sandwiches; or even as an ingredient in soups or stews for added flavor.
5. Garlic Parmesan Sauce
Garlic Parmesan sauce is a creamy, savory sauce made with garlic, butter, cream, and Parmesan cheese.
It’s a simple yet flavorful sauce that can be used to enhance the flavor of many dishes.
- To Make It: To make garlic Parmesan sauce, melt butter in a pan over medium heat. Add minced garlic and cook until fragrant. Pour in heavy cream and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and add grated Parmesan cheese. Stir until the cheese has melted into the cream mixture and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Common Uses: Garlic Parmesan sauce is commonly served as an accompaniment for seafood dishes such as clams or shrimp scampi. It can also be used as a dip for vegetables or breadsticks or drizzled over roasted vegetables like broccoli or cauliflower for added flavor.
6. Lemon Butter Sauce
Lemon butter sauce is a creamy, tangy sauce made with butter, lemon juice, and white wine.
It’s often used to enhance the flavor of seafood dishes such as clams, mussels, and shrimp.
- To Make It: To make lemon butter sauce, melt butter in a pan over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant. Pour in white wine and bring to a simmer for 1-2 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add lemon juice and parsley. Simmer for an additional 2-3 minutes or until the sauce has thickened slightly. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste before serving.
- Common Uses: Lemon butter sauce is commonly served with seafood dishes such as clams, mussels, shrimp scampi, crab cakes, lobster tails, salmon fillets or steaks, halibut fillets or steaks etc., but it can also be used as a dip for vegetables like artichokes or asparagus spears.
7. Pesto Sauce
Pesto sauce is a traditional Italian condiment made from fresh basil, garlic, olive oil, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese and salt.
It is usually served with pasta but can also be used as a spread or dip for breads and vegetables.
- To Make It: To make pesto sauce at home, you will need to gather the ingredients listed above. Start by washing the basil leaves and removing any stems. Place the leaves in a food processor along with the garlic cloves, pine nuts and Parmesan cheese. Pulse until everything is finely chopped then slowly add in the olive oil while continuing to pulse until it forms a paste-like consistency. Add salt to taste before transferring it into an airtight container or jar for storage.
- Common Uses: Pesto sauce can be used as a topping for pizza or added to soups and stews for extra flavor. It’s also great when tossed with cooked pasta dishes such as spaghetti or linguine with clams or mussels. You can even use it as a spread on sandwiches instead of mayonnaise or mustard!
8. Coconut Cream Sauce
Coconut cream sauce is a creamy, rich sauce made from coconut milk and other ingredients.
It has a mild sweetness and a hint of coconut flavor that pairs well with seafood dishes.
- To Make It: To make the sauce, start by heating some oil in a pan over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger to the pan and sauté until fragrant. Then add some curry powder or paste for flavor. Next, pour in some coconut milk and bring it to a simmer before adding fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, salt, pepper, and cilantro leaves for seasoning. Simmer the mixture until it thickens into a creamy consistency.
- Common Uses: Coconut cream sauce is commonly used as an accompaniment to seafood dishes such as steamed clams or mussels. The sweet-savory flavors of the sauce pair perfectly with shellfish dishes like these. The creamy texture also helps to balance out any spiciness from chili peppers or other seasonings that may be added to the dish.
9. Soy Sauce
Soy sauce is a dark, salty liquid condiment made from fermented soybeans, wheat, salt, and water.
It has been used in Asian cuisine for centuries and is now widely available around the world.
- To Make It: The process of making soy sauce begins with soaking whole soybeans in water to soften them. Then they are mixed with roasted wheat grains and a special type of mold called Aspergillus oryzae. This mixture is then left to ferment for several months before being strained and bottled as soy sauce.
- Common Uses: Soy sauce can be used as an ingredient in marinades, sauces, dressings, soups, stews, stir-fries and other dishes. It’s also commonly served as a dipping sauce for sushi or dumplings. When added to clams it adds umami flavor that complements the briny taste of the seafood perfectly.
Gremolata is an Italian condiment made from fresh parsley, garlic, and lemon zest.
It is usually served as a topping for dishes such as fish, poultry, or meat.
- To Make It: To make gremolata, finely mince the parsley leaves and stems (about 1/4 cup), grate the zest of one lemon (about 2 teaspoons), and mince two cloves of garlic (about 1 teaspoon). Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix together until evenly distributed.
- Common Uses: Gremolata is commonly used to top dishes such as osso buco or braised lamb shanks. It can also be used to add flavor to steamed vegetables or boiled potatoes. Additionally, it can be sprinkled over grilled seafood like clams or mussels for added flavor.
In conclusion, clams can be a delicious and versatile dish, and they can be enhanced and complemented by a variety of sauces.
The best sauces for clams are white wine sauce, butter sauce, spicy tomato sauce, red sauce, garlic sauce, lemon butter sauce, pesto sauce, creamy coconut sauce, soy sauce, and parsley and olive oil sauce.
Each of these sauces offers a unique and delicious flavor that can elevate your dish.
Whether you’re looking for a rich and creamy sauce or a light and zesty one, the perfect sauce for your clams is out there.
Experiment and find the one that suits your taste the best and enjoy!
The 10 Best Sauces for Clams
- White Wine Sauce
- Browned Butter Sauce
- Spicy Tomato Sauce
- Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
- Garlic Parmesan Sauce
- Lemon Butter Sauce
- Pesto Sauce
- Coconut Cream Sauce
- Soy Sauce
- Select your favorite recipe.
- Organize all the required ingredients.
- Prep a sauce recipe in 30 minutes or less!
Jenny has always been passionate about cooking, and she uses her platform to share her joy of food with others. Her recipes are easy to follow, and she loves giving tips and tricks to help others create their own unique culinary creations.