Green Beans with Clams and Bacon

Southern Kitchen
Green Beans with Clams and Bacon

About the recipe

The southeastern coast of the United States is home to small but flavorful littleneck clams. They take only 8-10 minutes to steam open and they pack a briny punch that can harmonize with a variety of foods, from meats to vegetables. This particular recipe plays off the classic pairing of shellfish with cured pork — in this case, smoked bacon — and uses these naturally salty ingredients to amplify the subtle sweetness of green beans. Because of the salinity of the clams, you shouldn’t need to add any additional salt to the dish.

Clams are full of sand and grit, and you’ll need to purge them before cooking. To properly purge clams, place them in a bowl with 4 cups of cold water and 1 tablespoon of kosher salt. Mix them around and let them sit on the counter for 15 minutes. Remove the clams from the bowl and you’ll see a few teaspoons of sand and grit left behind.

Serves: 4 to 6

Hands On Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes


1/2 cup kosher salt

1 pound green beans, trimmed

4 strips applewood-smoked bacon, diced

2 shallots, thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme

Freshly ground black pepper

1 pound littleneck clams, scrubbed and purged (see note)

2/3 cup white wine

1 cup chicken stock

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed

Juice of 1 lemon


Bring a large pot of water to a boil. When the water reaches a boil, add the salt and return to a boil. Fill a large bowl with ice water.

Working in batches, add the green beans to boiling water, making sure the water remains at a boil the entire time. If the water stops boiling, you’ve added too many beans. Cook until beans are just tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the beans to the ice bath to stop the cooking process. Repeat with the remaining green beans. Drain well.

In a large skillet with a lid, cook the bacon over medium heat, stirring frequently, until crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the shallots and cook, stirring, until soft and translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and thyme and cook until aromatic, about 1 minute. Season to taste with pepper.

Add the clams and wine, bring to a simmer, and cook until the wine has reduced to about 1/3 cup. Add the chicken stock and cover the pan. Continue to cook until the clams open, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the green beans and cook, uncovered and stirring constantly, just until heated. Remove from the heat and add the parsley, butter and lemon juice. Stir until the butter is completely melted and serve immediately.