Twenty-Minute Shellfish Sauté with Parsley Garlic Sauce

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

Although Spanish in origin, this dish is very popular with the Martinez family, especially my mother, who until recently favored traditional Puerto Rican cooking. Mami will ask me to make this dish for her more than once when she comes to visit. There is nothing that makes me happier or prouder than serving a meal I make with my own hands to my parents and watching the happy looks on their faces while they savor it. This is one of my most requested recipes, not just by my parents but by friends as well. The sweetness of the shellfish, the fragrance of the sea, the sparkle of the white wine, and the freshness of the parsley really make this dish sing. Serve with yellow rice or angel-hair pasta.

Notes“Dry” scallops are those that haven’t been soaked in a preservative solution before coming to market. They are firm, vary a little in color, and are sticky, not wet, to the touch. They’re generally a bit pricier but have a much nicer flavor and texture.

To rid clams of sand and grit (both inside and out), first scrub the clams with a stiff brush under cold running water. Then place the clams in a bowl large enough to hold them comfortably. Pour in enough cold salted water to cover. Add a tablespoon or two of cornmeal for each dozen clams. Swish the clams around and refrigerate them for 1 to 3 hours, swishing occasionally. The clams will eat the cornmeal and rid themselves of sand in the process. Drain and rinse the clams thoroughly before cooking.

Makes6 servings

Cooking Methodsauteeing


Total Timeunder 1 hour

One Pot MealYes

OccasionCasual Dinner Party

Recipe Coursemain course

Dietary Considerationegg-free, low carb, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free

Mealdinner, lunch


Taste and Texturegarlicky, herby, sweet, winey


  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 6 to 8 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 bunches flat-leaf parsley, thick stems removed and leaves washed and chopped
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 12 littleneck clams, cleaned and soaked  (see Notes)
  • Cornmeal
  • 1 pound sea scallops, preferably “dry” (see Notes)
  • 1 pound large shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste


  1. Heat the oil gently in a wide pan with shallow sloping sides (a paella pan works perfectly). Add the garlic and cook 1 to 2 minutes, until soft but uncolored.

  2. Stir in the parsley and wine, raise the heat to high, and cook until almost all the wine has evaporated.

  3. Stir the cornstarch into the milk in a small bowl until the cornstarch has dissolved. Whisk into the pan.

  4. Lower the heat, add the clams, scallops, and shrimp, and cover. Cook, shaking the pan periodically, until the shellfish are cooked through, about 15 minutes. The shellfish should be done perfectly at this point. Check the sauce and adjust the seasonings as you like.

  5. Variation: If you are feeling particularly extravagant, you can add the meat from 1 cooked lobster, cut into serving pieces, when you add the shellfish to the sauce.


Free recipes, giveaways, exclusive partner offers, and more straight to your inbox!


I have not made this yet so I cannot rate it.

Include a Photo Include a Photo

Click the button above or drag and drop images onto the button. You can upload two images.

Cancel Reply to Comment

Thanks for your comment. Don't forget to share!


Report Inappropriate Comment

Are you sure you would like to report this comment? It will be flagged for our moderators to take action.

Thank you for taking the time to improve the content on our site.

Sign In to Your Account

Close Window
Sign In with one of your Social Accounts
Facebook Twitter
Sign In using Email and Password