COUNTRY:                           PORTUGAL

DISH:                                     AMÊIJOAS À BULHÃO PATO (CLAMS)

CONTRIBUTED BY:            Joana de Carvalho, Spouse to the Ambassador


Here you find a delicious Portuguese dish, celebrating seafood. Clams “Bulhão Pato” (or Ameijoas à Bulhão Pato”) is a dish that you often associate with a beautiful restaurant by the beach and enjoying the summer breeze at the end of the day.  However, you can have it anytime, anywhere.

It’s often a starter, but that depends on how much you want to have. The freshness of the clams matters, but you can mostly find good seafood in South Africa, if you shop at the right places. You may use deep frozen clams.



2 lb fresh clams

½ cup olive oil

6 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced

1 bunch cilantro finely chopped

½ cup dry white wine

2 tablespoons kosher salt

Salt and pepper

1 lemon (or lime)



  1. Soak the clams in a large amount of water with the coarse salt for 3 hours. They will desalinate and get rid of the sand they contain. Place in the refrigerator.
  2. Rinse thoroughly and several times in cold water to completely get rid of sand. Use a brush to scrape the shells to remove the last traces of sand as well as any marine residues.
  3. Pour the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the garlic and cilantro. Cook over medium heat for a few minutes.
  4. Add the dry white wine and bring to a boil. Add the clams. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Cover and cook over medium heat until the clams open, about 5 to 10 minutes.
  6. Once all the clams are open, place them on the serving dish and let the sauce boil over high heat for 2 minutes. Pour the sauce over the clams.
  7. Sprinkle with lemon juice before eating.


The clams are best served in a bowl, to keep their sauce.

On informal occasions, among family or close friends, the clams are carefully eaten by hand (without touching the sauce). Also on informal occasions you dip bits of bread in the sauce and enjoy the flavour…