Sabrina A.

Bulhão Pato Clams

Gastronomy in Figueira III

Welcome to another post from Gastronomy in Figueira. The history of today’s dish is very interesting and takes us to a very important time for Portugal, around 1850, when great renowned writers and poets filled the community with their stories full of social criticism and allusions to a better world.

¹Raimundo António de Bulhão Pato was a monarchist, gastronomer, memorialist, but his dream was to go down in history as a poet. Eça de Queirós caricatured him in a character from the Mayans, but today he is best known for a recipe of clams prepared in his honor.

His name was associated with a recipe for clams, of which he, however, was not the author. It was the chef of the Hotel Central de Lisboa, João da Mata, his confessed admirer, who cooked them for the first time, who decided to honor the poet by giving his name to the dish.

Who was Raimundo António de Bulhão Pato after all?

Raimundo António de Bulhão Pato was born in Bilbao (Spain) on March 3, 1828. Son of a Portuguese nobleman with a Spanish woman, Raimundo lived where he was born until the end of the First Carlistina War, moving to Portugal, after major upheavals, in 1837 .

He is then enrolled at the polytechnic school in Lisbon, where he drops out. He pursues a career as a civil servant of the 2nd official of the 1st division of the Directorate-General for Trade and Industry.

Passionate about hunting and poetry and having a stable career, Raimundo decides to develop his culinary and poetic skills through the publication of several works during the course of his life. They are:
  • Poesias de Raimundo António de Bulhão Pato (1850)
  • Versos de Bulhão Pato (1862) 
  • Digressões e Novelas (1864)
  • Paquita (1866)
  • A José Estevão (1866) 
  • Canções da Tarde (1867)
  • Flôres agrestes (1870)
  • Paizagens (1871)
  • Canticos e satyras (1873)
  • Sob os Ciprestes: Vida intima de homens illustres (1877)
  • Hamlet (tradução) (1879)
  • Mercador de Veneza (tradução) (1881)
  • Satyras (1896)
  • Canções e Idyllios (1896)
  • Livro do Monte (1896)
  • Memórias (1894-1907)
Portrait of Bulhão Pato (1883), by Columbano Bordalo Pinheiro. Chiado Museum.

² With other important personalities of the Portuguese society of the time, he provided recipes for the work O cozinheiro dos cozinheiros, published in 1870 by Paul Plantier.

João da Mata and the Bulhão Pato Clams

According to, it was the chef at the Hotel Central de Lisboa, João da Mata, a confessed admirer of Raimundo António de Bulhão Pato, who cooked these clams for the first time, and named them after the poet.

Yet ³gastronomic critic José Quitério reproduces some of these recipes provided by the poet: partridges in Castilian (which begins with a very practical indication: “four partridges should carefully and with the greatest cleanliness be cleaned”), opulent rice and Bulhão Pato hare. All dishes with a higher degree of elaboration than the clams that won the poet’s name.

One thing is certain, the dish was not designed by the writer, but named after him.

³José Quitério guarantees that there is no writing that demonstrates the authorship of the dish, admitting that it was a tribute by some cook to the poet. If this is the case, writes Quitério, it could only be João da Mata, chef at the former Hotel Bragança and, however, the recipe also does not appear in his 1876 book Arte de Cozinha.

Grand Hotel Central in Lisbon

The preparation of clams can be done in different ways. Check out some recipes:

Variations in the preparation of Clams

Clams on the plate

Foto e Receita :

Clams with mustard
Clams with tomato


Bulhão Pato Clams

Below is the Bulhão Pato Clams recipe provided by the website In the next post we will present the version of this dish by Sun with Style. Its creator is passionate about cooking and incorporates her international knowledge into each dish.

Bulhão Pato Clams


  • 1.5 kg of purified clams
  • 1 onion
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 4 sp. of olive 
  • 1 coriander sauce
  • 3 sp. of white wine 
  • 1 lemon


Make sure that the clams are well cleaned, wash them under running water and let them drain into a mesh strainer.

Bring the finely chopped onion and garlic cloves to the heat with the oil until they start to brown.

Add the chopped coriander, incorporate the clams and stir.

Drizzle with white wine, cover and cook over a moderate heat for about 5 minutes or until the clams open, shaking the pan from time to time so that all receive equal heat.

Sprinkle with coriander leaves and drizzle with lemon juice.