Littleneck Clam Soup with Butter Beans and Saffron Recipe

Littleneck Clam Soup with Butter Beans and Saffron Recipe

How To Make Littleneck Clam Soup with Butter Beans and Saffron

A pinch of saffron adds a sweet and earthy tone to this delicious littleneck clam soup. It’s cooked with ham and beans in herb-seasoned broth.

Preparation: 8 minutes
Cooking: 22 minutes
Total: 30 minutes



  • 3tbspextra virgin olive oil
  • 1onion
  • 1cupserrano ham,or prosciutto, (2 oz), finely diced
  • 2clovesgarlic
  • 1tbspfine dry bread crumbs
  • 2cansbutter beans with their liquid
  • 1pinchdried thyme
  • 1bay leaf
  • 1pinchsaffron threads
  • 2tbspwater
  • freshly ground pepper
  • littleneck clams
  • 2tbspflat leaf parsley,finely chopped


  1. In a large deep skillet, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the onion and cook over moderately high heat for about 3 minutes until softened.

  2. Add the ham and garlic and cook for 1 minute.

  3. Stir in the bread crumbs, then add the beans and their liquid along with the thyme and bay leaf and bring to a boil.

  4. In a small bowl, crush the saffron threads into the water. Add to the beans and season with pepper.

  5. Simmer the soup over low heat for 15 minutes.

  6. Increase the heat to high, add the clams and their reserved liquor and cook for 3 minutes. Discard the bay leaf.

  7. Sprinkle the soup with the parsley and serve.

Recipe Notes

  • Tip: For a more rustic-looking soup, add the clams in their shells to the soup and cover the pot for 3 minutes or until the clams open. Serve the soup with an extra bowl for the shells.
  • If adding the clams without their shells to avoid the cumbersome process of shucking them raw, steam them in an inch of water or white wine. Remove the clams from their shells, and add them to the soup with their steaming liquid, simmering the soup only 1 minute more.


  • Calories: 462.91kcal
  • Fat: 13.94g
  • Saturated Fat: 2.61g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 8.83g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.77g
  • Carbohydrates: 57.70g
  • Fiber: 12.79g
  • Sugar: 2.18g
  • Protein: 28.40g
  • Cholesterol: 24.50mg
  • Sodium: 971.21mg
  • Calcium: 204.72mg
  • Potassium: 1373.65mg
  • Iron: 8.26mg
  • Vitamin A: 8.76µg
  • Vitamin C: 5.39mg
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