Recipe: Steamer Clams from Elliott Bay Brewery and Pub


For many, January is time for a reset, a detox, a cleanse from decadent holiday eating. As January winds to a close, we share a recipe for Elliott Bay Steamers, a keto-friendly, low-carb pub recipe you can make at home. We won’t claim it’s low-fat though – it’s positively swimming in garlic herb butter, a recipe we will also share today.

Steamin' hot steamers!
Steamin’ hot steamers!

Elliott Bay Brewery and Pub has been a neighborhood fixture in West Seattle for over 20 years. The community has morphed and grown around it, with six-story apartment buildings replacing single-level retail. Weathering the changes, Elliott Bay’s historic building stands as the oldest retail on the block with a two-story ceiling, original brick walls, and wonderfully creaky wood floors. After all these years, families and regulars, and now newcomers, flock to “the pub” for dinner and a beer.

The menu at the pub is packed with typical fare done right and with consistency. The lineup of burgers are made with Painted Hills beef. “The provenance of the beef is such that I will eat my burgers rare,” says head chef John Finneson, a 17-1/2 year employee of the pub. The accompanying fries are also a treat, fried crisp, and sprinkled with fresh herbs. We recommend dipping them in the “crack sauce” – a house-made chipotle aioli that brings the heat.

The pub’s fish and chips are also legendary, with a generous portion of fresh beer-battered cod. You can also get a taste of the fish in the cod tacos, or try a pub favorite, the seared ahi tacos. Other menu favorites include sandwiches, salads, jambalaya, and a daily house-made soup and chili.

The monthly pairings menu highlights seasonal availability and flavors, including beer pairings. The specials menu includes a small plate, main entree, sandwich, kids plate and dessert. If a monthly special becomes a pub favorite, you may see it end up on the regular menu in the coming months.

Elliott Bay Steamers has been on the regular pub menu as long as anyone can remember, featuring a full pound of fresh manila clams. “Clams and other shellfish love cold water,” says Finneson. “People like to eat them in the summertime, but they are at their best in the wintertime.” So now is the perfect time to try this recipe. This calls for clams, but you can also substitute fresh mussels. The version in the pub is made with dry white wine, but we subbed their Luna Weizen beer here. Feel free to use wine or any American-style hefeweizen here. (We do not recommend Bavarian-style hefeweizens because of the yeasty esters).


The garlic herb butter recipe makes over a pound, which will be handy because you will want to use this for everything. Finnegan recommends trying it as a finishing sauce for fish, chicken or pork, or toss it with pasta or steamed vegetables. It’s herbaceous, garlicky and has a slightly hot/peppery finish from the red chili flakes.

House-made garlic herb butter and house-brewed hefeweizen make the clams sing.
House-made garlic herb butter and house-brewed hefeweizen make the clams sing.

We paired this recipe with the North Atlantic Haze, which is a light (5.1% ABV) and crisp-hazy pale ale. It’s soft and slightly juicy, which lingered on the tongue with the garlic and herbs in this recipe. The Elliott Bay Pilsner is another possible pairing option. Its crisp finish cleared the palate of rich garlic butter, which made for a refreshing pairing. At home, consider pairing this dish with something like a not-too-hoppy pale ale, a blonde ale, or any lighter-bodied beer that will not overpower the herbaceous nature of the dish but will cut through the richness.


Thanks to Chef Finneson and Elliott Bay Brewery and Pub for sharing these recipes with us.

Elliott Bay Steamers

2 oz garlic herb butter

1 stalk celery julienne

¼ red onion julienne

1 pound fresh manila clams

1 c Luna Weizen (American-style hefeweizen, or sub dry white wine)

1 lemon

¼ c chopped parsley

Procedure: Saute onion and celery briefly in garlic herb butter. Add clams, stir to coat with butter, add beer and steam covered for I minute. Give clams a good stir, replace lid and let steam for 1 minute longer or until all are open. Squeeze the juice from the lemon into the pot using your fingers to catch the seeds. You can also use a small strainer if you wish to keep your hands clean. Turn out into the serving bowl, garnish w/ parsley & additional lemon wedges, Serve w/ toasted sourdough.

Garlic Herb Butter

1 c olive oil

1/3 c chopped garlic

1/3 c chopped shallots

1 tsp kosher salt

2 tbsp crushed dried red chili flakes

3 tbsp dried oregano

1 pound unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

Procedure: Cut the butter into 4 equal pieces. Place in a non-reactive, heat-proof pan or bowl. Heat a medium saute pan to very hot dry. Add the olive oil. Add the garlic, shallots and salt. Stir constantly to keep from burning for about 2 minutes until the garlic and shallots are just starting to turn very light brown (do not let them burn). Remove from the heat, stir in the red pepper flakes, allow to cool for about 30 seconds and add the oregano. Pour the mixture over the butter, mix thoroughly, refrigerate until solid, remove from pan and cut into 8 pieces.



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