Grilled clams are an iconic Tokyo dish, especially in the old fisherman neighborhoods that ring Tokyo Bay, which was once teeming with shellfish. Called yakihama (hamaguri are a kind of large clam available in Japan), this cooking tradition reaches back hundreds of years. The littleneck clams that are available here are a good substitute. Mitsuba is a fresh-tasting Japanese herb available at Japanese markets. If you can’t find it, you can also use cilantro or flat-leaf parsely.
- Yield: 4 Servings
- 24 littleneck clams (larger ones are better)
- ½ cup soy sauce
- ½ cup sake
- ½ cup chopped mitsuba, for garnish
- Rinse the clams under cold running water to remove any caked-on sand or mud. Whisk together the soysauce and sake in a bowl to make the marinade; set aside.
- Preheat a grill to medium-hot. Place the clams directly on the grill. After about 2 minutes they’ll start to open. (Discard any clams that don’t open.) Using 2 pairs of tongs, or tongs and a large spoon, carefully pry the shells open completely. Pour about 1 teaspoon of the marinade over each clam. As soon as the clams begin to froth and boil, about 1 minute more, pull them off the grill. Make sure not to overcook the clams or they’ll get rubbery. Garnish with the mitsuba and serve.