1. Melt butter with thyme in a small saucepan over low heat. Transfer 1/4 cup of the butter to a Dutch oven over medium heat, add shallots and garlic, and cook until translucent, about 2 minutes. Cover remaining butter and set aside.
2. Add wine to shallot-garlic mixture and bring to a boil. Add clams, broth, bay leaves, and peppercorns; cover and steam until clams open, about 5 minutes.
3. Using a slotted spoon, transfer clams to a large bowl. Being careful not to stir any sand settled on bottom of saucepan, ladle about 1 1/4 cups cooking liquid from surface into a small bowl.
4. Warm reserved butter and transfer to another small bowl. To eat, remove clam meat from shell, peeling off the black covering from the "neck". Dunk meat in the bowl of reserved cooking liquid to remove any sand, then dip into butter.
Source: Hannaford fresh Magazine, July - August 2016