Page-level ads

Recommended for you

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Palourdes – Clams. Clams on French Menus.

Behind the French Menu
Bryan G. Newman
Clams on sale in a French market.

Palourde, Clam, Praires, Venus, Vernis, and Clovis – These are French names for clams with palourde the word most often seen on menus.  With few exceptions, the clams on mainland French menus are only seen on the European side of the Atlantic and in the Mediterranean
                    Clams, button mushrooms, and wild garlic.
Clams are, of course, the single most important ingredient in clam chowder, with the word chowder coming from the French word chaudréebut do not be surprised when Le Clam Chowder de Boston, Boston clam chowder, is on the menu. The French enjoy good recipes from around the world, and New England clam chowder with potatoes and bacon along with the clams is clearly not a French recipe.
Boston clam chowder

Raw clams will be on France’s Plateaus de Fruits de Mer, these are amazing overflowing platters of fresh, raw and lightly cooked shellfish and other seafood. Depending on the size of the platter ordered they may include oysters, pink shrimps, sand shrimps, Dublin Bay prawns, sea urchins, whelks, winkles, mussels along with two or more clams and more.  For special occasions, a table of diners may choose a three-tiered platter that includes a crab and or a lobster.
Three tiered seafood platter.
Most clams are slightly sweet but have different tastes and textures both cooked and raw. Cooked clams will also be in fish soups or served grilled, stuffed or be part of other recipes from pasta to meat dishes.  The list that follows includes the most popular clams and those with highlighted names have their own posts; to see how they may be served click on the links.  Other seafood stars that may be on the menu with clams and have their own posts include scallops; rock lobsters the owner of the lobster tail; the European two-clawed lobster which is a close cousin of the North American lobster; slipper lobsters and more. 

Clams on French menus:

Coques -  Cockles; cockles are close cousins of the clam family. 

Palourde Américaine, Le Clam  – The  Cherrystone Clam in the USA, also called the American Quahog. The original American Indian name of this clam was quahog, and these clams were introduced accidentally into European waters 80 years ago from the USA. On their own the Cherrystone clams are not too popular in France; nevertheless, in France, the Cherrystone clam will be providing the texture in soups such as clam chowder or as part of other dishes.
   A mussel, cockle and clam risotto.
Palourde Blanche  – The White Clam or Oval Shore Clam. This small white clam looks somewhat similar to the more expensive palourde grise, the grooved carpet shell clam, but its shell is not striated. It seldom exceeds 3 cm (1.2”) in diameter and on French menus may be part of a seafood platter or served cooked.
Palourde Bleue or Palourde Bleue de Méditerranée  - The pullet carpet shell clam. This small clam is from 3 – 6 cms  (1.2” – 2.4”) wide; it is farmed and usually served raw on seafood platters.
Palourde de Vraie, Palourde Grise, Clovisse  – The grooved carpet shell clam.; this clam is found throughout the world and is usually served raw; but in France, it also stars when stuffed and cooked.

This clam may vary in size from 2.5 - 5.5cm  (1” -2.15”) though they may occasionally be larger and it is a clam that is found throughout the world.
Clams sautéed with spicy chilis.
Telline, Flion or  Olive de Mer – The Sea Olive or Banded Wedge Shell Clam. These are tiny, mostly oval, though some are triangular, green-tinged clams, and about 2 – 4 cms across (0.80” – 1.60”). The sea olive will usually be served raw as part of a seafood platter though they may also be cooked and served with a seafood salad or with pasta.

The sea olive on French menus:

Fricassée de Tellines – A sea olive stew.

Noix de Saint-Jacques Rôties dans un Nuage de Tellines et Copeaux d’Asperges Vertes – The roasted meat of the king scallop served in a cloud of sea olives with shavings of green asparagus.

Vernis - The smooth clam.

Palourde Rose or Palourde Glénan - The pink clam. In dishes where this clam is included, the taste comes from other clams, but it will be there for its texture and will also be on menus when stuffed.

The pink clam on French menus:

Assiette de Palourdes Roses Farcies - A plate of stuffed pink clams.

Petite Praire – The striped Venus clam; usually served raw with just a dash of lemon juice.   

Couteau -  The razor shell clam or spoot. This clam is a favorite on French seafood platters and will also be on many menus when cooked.

The razor shell clam on French menus:

Assiette Panaché (Moules Farcies, Palourdes Farcies, Couteaux Farcis) – An assortment (stuffed mussels, clams, and razor shell clams).

Couteaux Palourdes Grillées – Grilled razor shell clams.
Stir fried razor shell clams
Connected Posts:



Behind the French Menu’s links include hundreds of words, names, and phrases that are seen on French menus. There are nearly 400 articles that include over 1,000 French dishes with English translations and explanations. To search for more articles like this one simply add the word or words you are searching for to the words "Behind the French Menu" and search with Google or Bing.

Bryan G. Newman

Behind the French Menu
Copyright 2010, 2017.

For information on the unpublished book behind this blog contact Bryan Newman

No comments:

Post a Comment