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15 Minute Clams Oreganata

Y'all. If you're obsessed with the fresh, flagrant flavors of oregano, you are going to LOVE these Clams Oreganata! In this dish, littleneck clams are steamed in a super flavorful, fragrant broth made with fresh and dried oregano, dry white wine, loads of garlic, and fresh lemon juice. All the magic happens on the stovetop in under 15 minutes.

If you're cutting your dining out budget, homemade steamed clams are a great way to enjoy restaurant-quality meals at home without spending a ton. This is a great date night recipe because it is so easy to prep and cook and clams oreganata feels and tastes like a million bucks!

Besides, you're opening up a bottle of wine for the white wine sauce for these clams. Perfect for sipping the rest of the night!

Littleneck clams with oregano breadcrumbs on top on a plate.

Easy clams oreganata

Clams oreganata is typically a pretty labor-intensive recipe because it involves removing all the clam meat from the shell, mixing it with a breadcrumbs mixture, then stuffing it back into the shells. While I admit that that is delicious, it takes too long and takes half the fun out of eating clams!

To me, eating clams is all about the process of sitting around with your friends or family, dipping crusty bread into the delicious lemony garlicky broth, picking out the clams from the shells and making a large pile of discarded shells.

Besides, taking your time eating clams from the shell serves as portion control... or maybe it just allows me to eat more bread in the meantime, I'm not really sure. 😉

This version of clams oreganata does not require you to remove all the clams and to stuff them back into the shells. You will simply steam the clams in an oregano-flavored garlicky lemony broth, then add a few teaspoons of toasted Italian breadcrumbs seasoned with oregano to the open shells, giving them that awesome breaded mouthfeel without all the work.

Pan of clams oreganata

Related recipe: Shrimp Oreganata

Steamed clams in white wine sauce

Clams, like most seafood, taste great in white wine sauce. The sauce that these clams are steamed in a simple sauce made with olive oil, garlic, fresh and dried oregano, dry white wine, low-sodium chicken broth, and fresh lemon juice. 

Make sure to use dry white wine and NOT cooking wine for clams. Cooking wine has added salt to it. The combination of salty clam juice that will go into the broth once the clams open, cooking wine, and chicken broth is too salty. 

If you don't have dry white wine on hand, you can use a mild beer in its place (such as a lager, don't use anything too hoppy), or use cooking wine and no-sodium added chicken broth. Another option is to use half seasoned breadcrumbs and half plain breadcrumbs to cut the salt in the toasted breadcrumb topping for the clams, which will make the whole dish a little less salty.

Dipping bread into white wine sauce for clams

Related recipe: Baked Swai in Lemon Garlic Sauce

Ready to get started?

Ingredients

For the clams:

  • 2 dozen little neck clams
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup dry white wine (NOT cooking wine - it will be too salty)
  • ½ - 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth (use 1 cup for extra sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Lemon wedges for serving

For the toasted breadcrumbs:

These toasted breadcrumbs are optional but so so good!

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ cup seasoned Italian breadcrumbs
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
Ingredients for clams oreganata

You'll need a large pan with a lid for this recipe, such as this enameled cast iron. 12-14 inches is big enough to hold 2 dozen littleneck clams without crowding them. You don't want to use a good nonstick pan because the shells of the clams will scratch the pan a little. An enameled cast iron pan is perfect for this. You need a tight-fitting lid for the pan so that the oregano white wine sauce does not evaporate out as the clams steam in the pan.

Instructions

Make sure to have all the ingredients ready before you begin cooking, as this recipe requires only 

Step 1: Scrub the clams clean with a brush or clean sponge and give them a rinse.

Step 2: Heat the olive oil in a large pan (do NOT use your best nonstick pan for this as the clams might scratch it). Add the minced garlic and cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, or until the garlic starts to brown. Don't let it burn.

Minced garlic cooking in olive oil.

Step 3: Add the fresh oregano and dried oregano, and cook for another minute, or until the oregano gets fragrant.

Fresh oregano and dried oregano in a pan with garlic and olive oil

Step 4: Add the black pepper, dry white whine, chicken broth, and lemon juice. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes, if using. Add the clams, bring the liquid to a boil, cover with a lid, and steam for 5-7 minutes, or until all the clams have opened. Discard any clams that did not open.                                     

Clams steaming in white wine sauce with lemon juice and oregano

Step 5 - optional step: Grab a clean skillet and add the olive oil, Italian breadcrumbs, and dried oregano to the pan. Cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently, or until the breadcrumbs get toasted and start to brown slightly. Remove from heat immediately. Use a spoon to add about ½ - 1 teaspoon toasted breadcrumbs to each open clam. 

Pan of toasted breadcrumbs

Step 6: Squeeze fresh lemon juice all over the clams. Serve clams immediately with a warm toasted baguette or other favorite bread for dipping into the sauce. 

Close up of clams with toasted breadcrumbs

Related recipe: Sheet Pan Lemon Garlic Shrimp with Veggies

What to serve with clams oreganata

Definitely do not skip the bread for dipping into the sauce! I love a toasted sliced baguette for this, but your favorite Italian bread or any other crusty bread will work too.

You can also toss pasta in the sauce from the clams and serve it on the side.

If you don't want more carbs, then a simple chopped Italian salad would be perfect as a starter for clams oreganata.

How long to steam clams

Clams are steamed in 5-7 minutes. Make sure the liquid you're steaming them in is already boiling before you start the timer. Clams will open once they are done steaming. Any clams that do not open after being steamed for 5-7 minutes should be discarded. 

Gluten-free clams oreganata

To make these clams oreganata gluten-free, you can either skip the breadcrumbs portion completely, or use your favorite seasoned gluten-free breadcrumbs.

If you enjoyed this recipe, let me know with a comment and a star rating below. And don't forget to share it on Facebook and save it on Pinterest for later!

Pan with steamed clams topped with oregano breadcrumbs
Print Recipe
5 from 6 votes

Clams Oreganata

This easier version of Clams Oreganata has ALL the flavor without all the work! The
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time15 mins
Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 2 (2 dinner servings, 4 appetizer servings)
Author: Kate

Ingredients

For the clams:
  • 2 dozen little neck clams
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic - minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves - chopped
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup dry white wine - (NOT cooking wine - it will be too salty)
  • ½ - 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth - (use 1 cup for extra sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes - optional
  • Lemon wedges - for serving
For the toasted breadcrumbs:

Special equipment

Instructions

  • Scrub the clams clean with a brush or clean sponge and give them a rinse.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large pan (do NOT use your best nonstick pan for this as the clams might scratch it). Add the minced garlic and cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, or until the garlic starts to brown. Don't let it burn.
  • Add the fresh oregano and dried oregano, and cook for another minute, or until the oregano gets fragrant.
  • Add the black pepper, dry white whine, chicken broth, and lemon juice. Add red pepper flakes, if using. Stir. Add the clams, bring the liquid to a boil, cover tightly with a lid, and steam for 5-7 minutes, or until all the clams have opened. Discard any clams that did not open.
  • Grab a clean pan and add the olive oil, Italian breadcrumbs, and dried oregano to the pan. Cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently, or until the breadcrumbs get toasted and start to brown slightly. Remove from heat immediately. Use a spoon to add about ½ - 1 teaspoon toasted breadcrumbs to each open clam.
  • Squeeze fresh lemon juice all over the clams. Serve clams immediately with a warm toasted baguette or other favorite bread for dipping into the sauce.

Notes

Serve with a toasted baguette for dipping into the sauce, or toss some pasta in the lemony garlicky sauce!
The nutrition facts are estimated assuming 2 dinner servings and do not include bread.

Nutrition

Calories: 246kcal (12%) | Carbohydrates: 10g (3%) | Protein: 5g (10%) | Fat: 19g (29%) | Saturated Fat: 3g (15%) | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 157mg (7%) | Potassium: 223mg (6%) | Fiber: 1g (4%) | Sugar: 1g (1%) | Vitamin A: 23IU | Vitamin C: 2mg (2%) | Calcium: 37mg (4%) | Iron: 1mg (6%)

The nutritional information displayed is an estimate and not to be used as dietary or nutritional advice. Consult a nutritionist or dietician for nutritional info based on the exact ingredients you use.

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