Bulhão Pato Clams

Bulhão Pato clams get their name from a famous Portuguese poet.

Raimundo António de Bulhão Pato was famously fond of his food. He mentioned these little suckers in his writing and they have taken the world (or at the very least, Portugal) by storm.

The recipe is wonderfully simple and you end up with the most incredibly delicious pile of clams, with a soup for spooning and dipping afterwards.

Not bad seeing as they only take 5mins in the pan!

Fast food at its finest.

The best way I can describe the flavour is…

Imagine you’re sitting in a cabin by the sea. Outside the wind is howling, the waves are crashing and spraying the windows with white water. You can smell the salt. Inside the fire’s lit and crackling away. There are candles everywhere and you’re just tucking into a herby, lemony soup with some thick bread, smothered in French, salty butter.

That sort of sums up what these babies taste like!

First of all you’re going to want to let your clams soak for a little while, in cool, salted water.

Leave them to relax for about an hour.

By then they should have loosened up enough to release any sand they’re holding onto.

Drain the water & give them all a good scrub under running water.

When you’re ready, heat some olive oil in a frying pan and toss in a couple of garlic cloves (just peel them and crush with the side of your knife).

Leave it to sizzle away and flavour the oil for a minute, then shake your clams in.

Cover immediately. Use a lid if your frying pan has one, or get resourceful if it doesn’t…

After about a minute, quickly open it up and pour in a glass of white wine.

Squeeze in the juice of 1 or 2 lemons, depending how big & juicy they are, and cover it up again.

After 2 mins have a little peek and see if they’ve all popped open.

If they have, tear over a small handful of fresh coriander (cilantro).

Grind over a good dusting of black pepper and add a couple knobs of butter.

(This isn’t in the traditional recipe, but it really gives the sauce a deliciously rich kiss of life and you’ll thank me when you’re spooning it out as soup later!)

Fish out your clams & pop them into a bowl. Discard any that haven’t opened.

Don’t be afraid to pile ’em high.

Give the sauce one more minute and then pour it all over the clams.

Serve as quickly as possible with some chilled white wine & crusty bread.

A perfectly light supper for two, or a seriously impressive starter for four.

Use your fingers, pick up a clam and slurp it out.

A taste explosion you & your guests wont soon forget.

You’ll be happy as a clam by the time you get to the bottom!

(Sorry, had to throw at least ONE clam joke in there!)

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  • I know what the boyf and I are having for date night. Thanks for the recipe, Rosie!

    Fie x

    Coffee & Confetti

  • That looks fab! Definitely going to be trying this. I love how colorful the clams are!


  • afoks

    Its 10:30am & I now have a very serious craving for clams!! I know what’s for dinner tonight now. A x

  • Laura

    Looks like a pretty dish – the wine is defo an essential…


  • KLG_Hair

    Yum, love clams and mussels so this looks great. Fresh, and delicious. x

  • Ohh this looks delicious! Although I had the most amazing mussels the other day in a little local restaurant- they came with the most yummy thai inspired sauce (never seen that with mussels before- people tend to serve them more ‘traditionally’ in my experience!). I’ll have to see if this recipe beats that!


  • Pipas Sofia

    Great surprise. I am a follower of the blog and I am Portuguese. 🙂

  • Nataly

    Deliciously light & summery! Good jaaab sista! x

  • Beccy

    These look delicious! I’m always slightly nervous about cooking shellfish but I love the taste, so I think it’s about time I give it a go. I have a major hankering for clams right now!

    Beccy ~ Bluebell & Bumpkin

  • I never made clams at home before. You have inspired me. Thank you x

  • Louise

    Clams are my absolute favourite, I could live off spaghetti vongole my whole life. I just worry about cooking them for someone else and giving them food poisoning!

    • Captain Obvious

      Don’t be so pathetic. Jesus you could say the same of any food. Just cook them as the recipe says.

      • Louise

        You seem like a lovely person to be around. Have you ever had food poisoning? I have from mussels – not much fun. Now off you go to brighten up someone else’s day….

        • You are awesome Louise! (I’ve had food poisoning too, not a laughing matter!)

          • Lisa Rose

            Food poisoning from shellfish is dreadful. It’s not normally the chefs fault but a bad clams! So as Rosie says clean them good and chuck the unopened..go for it Louise :).

      • J.k. Walter

        Working out is a great way to relieve stress, Cap’n. Try it out!

  • The slow pace

    Delicious! They look a little bit like Spanish Almejas a la marinera, but I’m sure the cilantro gives them a fresher touch!

  • nomnomnomnom, this looks so scrummy! Ailish Goes

  • Looks speedy but super delicious Rosie! Love quick meals like this in summer!

  • Lesley

    Amazing! So simple yet looks so delish! x

  • This is making my mouth water. I really can’t wait to be eating more seafood this summer. Looks delicious !

  • Amy

    So simple yet so delicious – I’ll definitely be trying this out tonight, I’m never sure what to do with clams.
    Thanks Rosie
    Amy x

  • Shanna Solheim

    Aah, I love your recipes, Rosie! This looks delicious and I’m going to see if I can find any clams for my dinner. I live in Norway so I’m not sure I’ll find anything (it’s almost impossible to find clams here), but I certainly will try 😉

  • these look incredible rosie! I just had australian scallops for dinner, nothing beats good seafood! x


  • These look delicious, but there’s only one problem, I hate shellfish, so this is one of your recipes I’ll have to skip – I wonder is the sauce tastes good with king prawns?

    Win a pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses of your choice on my blog!


  • Mmmm! I love doing mussels in a similar sauce. Never tried doing it with clams though! One for the to-do list 🙂 xx

    Little Miss Katy | Lifestyle, Fashion & Beauty

  • Juliana

    So happy to see that you are sharing a recipe from my country Rose! You should come for a visit. Love your blog.

  • thunderlegz

    Awesome recipe! thanks Rosie

  • saradujour

    Mmm that does look good! Great post, Rosie!

    http://www.saradujour.me (A lifestyle blog about food, fashion, apartment decor, beauty, DIY, books, music, restaurants…the works!)

  • Kelsey Wilburn

    this looks so amazing! and i don’t even eat clams!
    ladies in navy

  • Beany Elarte

    Hi. Another brilliant blog entry – can’t wait to try it. On another matter, a while back I think you mentioned a girl who had set up her own business doing coaching/therapy esp around weight issues. I have scrolled through all your diary entries and I can’t for the life of me find it. I’m not sure if I have misremembered where I saw it or I just can’t find it. She had dark hair, was v pretty, based in London. If you could let me know her name I’d be really grateful. Many thanks

  • joie7994

    Is it just me or is there no quantity for the clams? How much did you use? Thanks for another lovely recipe, can’t wait to try it! 🙂

  • they look delicious! I love clams x


  • Samantha Bei

    i love doing this with mussels or clams when I have friends coming over last minute. it takes no time at all. If you want something slightly sweeter, try steaming them with a bottle of summer ale, bacon, and diced apples. I haven’t heard any complaints yet 🙂


  • queen of puns! 🙂

  • Two simple truths in cooking 1) butter makes everything better and 2) you can never have too much garlic (your date might disagree though…). :o)

    I love a simple recipe. Sometimes simple is best.

  • Looks delicious! And simple! Cannot ask for more. I decided that this summer I’m going to spend in the kitchen trying new recipes. I’m sure I’ll find some time for holidays! I’ve already started actually. So take a look 🙂

  • This looks like such a good meal 🙂


  • Stunning stills!

  • Had my first oyster the other day (at posh French brasserie Boulestin: http://hyhoi.com/2014/06/boulestin-flawless-french-brasserie-st-jamess/ ) I’m still not sure what to make of the little creatures though….!

  • When I first saw this post, I was thinking about whether you were going to make that joke at the end, haha 😉


  • I’m portuguese and I must say… WELL DONE! Great job! It looks amazing and it sounded like the original recipe 😉
    I want clams now XD

  • Your posts always make me so hungry!!!

  • You’re photos make everything look delicious! 🙂

  • Lauren Oliver

    Hi Rosie! Do you have any good paella recipes? I’m going to Spain tomorrow for the week and am on cooking duty on a few of the nights for the family! As I don’t want to food poison everyone I’d love if you had any fool proof recipies that I could follow! Thanks! xx

  • I’ve never cooked clams. I often do mussels – have you tried that? It’s a really similar recipe but with shallots instead of garlic and parsley instead of coriander. Yum yum yum. It’s making me hungry just writing, actually….

  • Hi_D

    Oh my gosh. That looks so yummy. I’m hungry. 🙂


  • I’ll probably make this for Father’s Day tomorrow, it looks so simple but they’ll think I’m a pro!

  • Mariana

    Im from Porto, Portugal, and discovered your blog a few days ago, and well, pretty much all my tablet’s battery is being drained by your blog 🙂
    Anyway, im writing to express my surprise on you knowing this dish! You should visit sometime, you’ll love the food…and as I see you love sunshine and beach, i’d recomend Algarve in September/October when its less full of over excited weirdos!
    Or for more of a quiet vacation with some nature and amazing beaches, the North of Portugal around my city 😉

    happy new year 🙂
    kissie for you and some belly rubbing for custard!