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Bulhão Pato Clams with Linguine ❦ Amêijoas à Bulhão Pato com Linguine

This classic of the Portuguese kitchen is one I make often. In Portugal it is usually served as an appetizer with just some bread to mop up the delicious sauce, but today I added cooked linguine and tossed it all together. The result was divinial, especially with the addition of copious amounts of butter.

Raimundo António de Bulhão Pato was a 19th century poet, and not the chef who created this dish. Story has it that the poet mentioned a cook in one of his writings, and later, the cook went on to create this dish and name it after the poet. This dish, no matter what we call it is just delicious. Just a few humble ingredients and a culinary masterpiece was born.

Fresh clams are not available anywhere near me at the moment, so I used frozen clams, still fabulous and still delicious. If you use fresh clams, make sure to soak your clams in cold salted water, so that they expel their sand. Change water 3 times, being careful to lift clams out of the water so you do not disturb the accumulated sand at the bottom of the bowl. Discard any that are broken or that do not close when you tap their shell, that means they are dead. Once cooked discard any that do not open.




Bulhão Pato Clams with Linguine ❦ Amêijoas à Bulhão Pato com Linguine


1 Kg. Small clams, fresh or frozen

250 ml. Dry white wine, I like Portuguese Vinho Verde

80 ml. Extra virgin olive oil

500 g. Linguine

1 Onion, minced

6 Cloves of garlic, minced

2 lemons*, 1 for zest and juice About 4 tbps. juice (Do not use jarred lemon juice) and 1 cut into wedges to serve.

1 Bunch of fresh coriander (cilantro), stalks and leaves separated and finely chopped (stalks go in to cook, and leaves to finish)

*A medium lemon will give 2-3 Tablespoons of juice, where a larger lemon can give 1/4 cup (4 Tablespoons).


The following ingredients are not in the original recipe, but I added them to make this an amazing pasta sauce

150 g. Smoked bacon lardons

150 g. Salted butter (10 tbsp.) Yes you read that right, sounds like a lot but not once it is divided amongst 4 diners :)


  1. Put a large pot of generously salted water on the boil and cook pasta according to package directions for al dente about 10-12 minutes

  2. Meanwhile, start the clams.

  3. In a large high sided saute pan, add olive, oil and bacon. Saute until crisp, lower heat and then add onion,coriander stalks, lemon zest and garlic. Saute a few minutes, until onion and garlic are fragrant. Do not let garlic burn.

  4. Increase heat to medium-high, add the clams and the wine, give the clams a stir and cover. Cook for 5 minutes, giving the pan a few shakes every few minutes, but do not lift the lid.

  5. Drain pasta and reserve 200 ml. of the pasta cooking water.

  6. Uncover clam pot and discard any that have not opened.

  7. Add butter, pasta, lemon juice and reserved pasta water, stir to coat pasta, cover pot and cook on high for 1 minute more.

  8. Add fresh coriander leaves and serve immediately with lemon wedges.