Author Notes: This is a variation on my original Italian version with pancetta and white wine. It is a very versatile dish with limitless flavor combinations. I switch it up all summer for different clients and it continues to be my flavor-packed crowd pleaser. Served best with homemade grilled pizza bianca or a simply grilled fettunta, it's a sexy way to show off Long Island's best clams. If you thought you didn't like clams, this dish guarantees to make you a convert! - Chris Lynch
Serves 2 - 4 people
For the fettunta (You could use grilled flour tortillas, but the bread does a better job of mopping up the broth.)
- 1 loaf Rustic Italian Bread, sliced in thick slabs
- 2 - 4 cloves Fresh Garlic for rubbing
- 1 cup XV Olive Oil for drizzling on the bread
- 1 Grey Sea Salt, like Maldon for sprinkling
- 1 Sweet Smoked Paprika for sprinkling
For The Clams
- 4 dozen Little neck Clams, soaked to remove grit
- 1/2 pound Muncan Food Corp Double Smoked Bacon, medium dice
- 4 cloves Garlic, chopped
- 1 small Yellow Onion, small dice
- 1 or 2 Jalapenos (or your chile of choice) with seeds, cut into rings
- 2/12 oz. Bottles of Dos XX Lager
- 3 tablespoons XV Olive Oil
- 3 Limes
- 1 bunch Fresh Cilantro, rough chopped
- 1 teaspoon Sweet or Hot Smoked Paprika
- Slice the bread into trencher style slabs for grilling and set aside with the whole garlic cloves, xv olive oil, sea salt & smoked paprika.
- Place a heavy pot, deep skillet or braiser with lid large enough to hold your clams comfortably over medium heat. Drizzle with a little xv olive oil when hot, and add bacon. Being careful not to burn, render until crispy but chewy. You can drain some of the fat, if you need to, but not all because we need the smoky bacony flavor in this broth.
- Add onion, garlic and smoked paprika (I recommend sweet) and sautee until translucent, stirring a little, about 2 minutes.
- Turn up heat to high and add well-rinsed clams all at once, but gently, being careful not to break the shells.
- Add jalapenos, a hefty pinch of black pepper, half the chopped cilantro and the bottles of lager and cover without stirring. Make sure the heat doesn't burn the contents, but it should be high enough to rapidly bring the beer to a boil.
- After a couple minutes, check on the clams, give the pot a gentle stir, cover again.
- After a minute or two more the clams should be opening. Remove the clams immediately, using tongs, to a covered bowl, one by one until they are all out and place in covered bowl. Any clams that don't open in a reasonable time should be discarded.
- *(This step belongs after the bacon going into poat) On hot grill, grill both sides of bread and immediately rub both sides with garlic and place somewhere warm, like an oven set to 150 F. Right before clams go into serving bowl, remove bread, drizzle xv olive oil on one side, sprinkle lightly with smoked paprika and sea salt and plate. You can cut the bread into "soldiers" if you like, giving you more pieces.
- Keep lid removed and reduce the broth to about 2 cups, taste for salt and seasoning, adjust as you see fit.
- TO SERVE: Place clams in shallow serving bowl, pour hot broth gently over the top. Squeeze with fresh lime, sprinkle with remaining chopped cilantro and place bread around the edges, leaving a separate bowl on the side for the shell. You will need lots of napkins!
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Recipe with Beer