Amêijoas à Bulhão Pato

By : February 25th, 2021 Gastronomy 0 Comments

The sauce that coats the clams is prepared with olive oil (of very good quality as it is the star ingredient of the sauce), garlic, cilantro, salt, pepper and sometimes, as is the case here, some dry white wine to bring even more flavor. Then, the juice of lemon juice is drizzled before being served.

The Lisboetas and travelers returning from the Tagus river will speak to you with joy of the infinite pleasure of savoring amêijoas à Bulhão Pato by the sea and finishing the dish with a good bread to soak up the wonderful juice of the clams intimately mixed with the olive oil, garlic and cilantro. An easy and quick recipe for a short lunch break or at the end of the day, at sunset, at the Port of Lisbon.

Many of the emblematic dishes of Portuguese gastronomy are prepared with fish or shellfish. Nothing surprising for a country bordered by the Atlantic Ocean and whose capital sits on a bay.

The Algarve, the southernmost region of Portugal, enjoys a great reputation for the variety and freshness of its fish, shellfish and crustaceans. It is from this region that comes a large part of the seafood consumed in Portugal, including clams. Some are farmed and others are picked up by mariscadores, shellfish farmers.

In Portugal, the amêijoas are at the heart of many recipes such as cataplana (seafood dish with spices, white wine, tomatoes, etc.) or carne de porco à alentejana (consisting of pork, clams and accompanied by potatoes). And many others.

But today, I decided  to feature the recipe of amêijoas à Bulhão Pato. It is named after Raimundo António de Bulhão Pato, a poet, gastronomist and epicurean, who was an important figure in the intellectual and artistic life of Portuguese society in the mid to late nineteenth century. He even participated in a culinary book, “The cook of the cooks” (O Cozinheiro dos Cozinheiros) by Paulo Henrique Plantier, published for the first time in 1870, which offered a chapter of recipes invented and made by famous Portuguese artists of the time.

So this is a nice tribute to this epicurean and lover of good food, that this dish that is so popular still bears his name today, and continues to challenge the curious foodies like us.

Amêijoas à Bulhão Pato – Recipe

Amêijoas à Bulhão Pato are a delicious traditional dish of the city of Lisbon that is prepared with clams coated with a sauce composed of olive oil, garlic, cilantro, and white wine.

Prep Time

10 mins

Cook Time

5 mins

Total Time

15 mins


  • 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 salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 lemon


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Pour the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the garlic and cilantro. Cook over medium heat for a few minutes.
  • Add the dry white wine and bring to a boil. Add the clams. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Cover and cook over medium heat until the clams open, about 5 to 10 minutes.
  • 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.
  • Sprinkle with lemon juice before eating.

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