5-6 lbs clams
1 head of garlic
2 stalks of lemongrass, trimmed
1-2 red chili peppers
2 cups coconut milk
zest of 1 lemon
fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon fish sauce
Rub and wash clams a few times to remove dirt. Discard any clams with broken shell, strong odors, or those that don't try to close when tapped. These are likely dead and are unfit to eat. If shells are open, tap them, and if they respond by closing their shells, they are alive and good to cook. Leave clams clean in a sink full of water.
Shallots, garlic, lemongrass - finely mince
Lemon - juice, make 1 tablespoon
Cilantro - chop, make about 1 cup
Lemon - zest
Red chili pepper - remove seeds and finely mince
In a large pot set over medium heat, add oil, shallots, garlic, and lemongrass. Cook until soft and fragrance is released.
Add coconut milk, fish sauce and clams. Mix well. Cover and cook for about 8 minutes, shaking the pot occasionally, until the clams have opened. Discard any clams that remain closed. Turn off the heat. Toss in lemon zest, lemon juice, chili pepper, and cilantro. Mix well. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning, adding more lemon juice or fish sauce if necessary.
Serve with an extra squeeze of lime if desired. Use some toast to soak up all the delicious sauce. Enjoy!