Clams with Cream, Farro, and Baby Kale

By • July 2, 2014 13 Comments

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Author Notes: When I make clams I want the dish to feel more like a whole meal so I add a cooked grain and some greens to the mix. This idea was not my own, but one I have borrowed from chefs Chad Conley (formerly of Hugo’s and Gather in Maine and Jean-Georges in New York) and Greg Mitchell (Gramercy Tavern and Reynard in New York) who man the stoves at the refurbished Palace Diner (http://www.palacedinerme.com/) in Biddeford, Maine. They routinely mix shellfish with things like fregola sarda and bitter greens. I think I have come pretty close to recreating the clam, farro, and kale dish I ate there a couple of weeks ago. They used mahogany clams, but I run with a mix of my favorite hard shells: cherrystones and littlenecks.cheese1227

Serves 4 for dinner

  • Olive oil
  • 1/4 cup minced shallots
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/2 cup clam juice
  • 2 dozen cherrystone clams, scrubbed
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Kosher salt and white pepper
  • 2 dozen littleneck clams, scrubbed
  • 2 cups cooked farro
  • 2 cups washed baby kale leaves
  • Sea salt
  • Chili oil
  1. In a 10-inch skillet, heat 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add chopped shallots and cook for 2 to 3 minutes to soften. Add crushed garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add clam juice and bring to a steady simmer. Carefully scatter the cherrystone clams into the pan and cover. Cook until most of the clams have opened, between 5 and 7 minutes. Discard any clams that have not opened.
  2. Meanwhile, in a 4-quart sauce pan, heat cream and season it with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon white pepper. Add littleneck clams to the simmering cream and cover. Cook until most of the clams have opened, between 3 and 5 minutes. Discard any clams that have not opened.
  3. Split both types of clams between four bowls. Return the skillet used to cook the cherrystones to the stove over low heat, add farro to heat it through. Turn off the heat and fold in the baby kale leaves. Stir in cream used to cook littleneck clams.
  4. Split farro and kale between the bowls. Pour sauce over the clams. Finish with a swirl of chili oil and a sprinkle of sea salt.

More Great Recipes: Fish & Seafood|Appetizers|Entrees|Kale|Fish

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Comments (13) Questions (0)

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6 months ago Robert Yohannan

Being new to farro what is the preferred method for preparing "cooked farro"?...and should it be toasted first prior to cooking for a more nutty flavor?

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6 months ago cheese1227

Toasting it is a great idea. Then simmer it in plenty of water, testing it as it simmers. I like it a bit on the toothier side.

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about 1 year ago Horto

what is clam juice? how do you make it?

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about 1 year ago cheese1227

Clam juice is liquid strained from freshly shucked clams. It's bottled and sold in the tuna fish aisle of most US grocery stores. You can use fish stock or plain water in a pinch.

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about 1 year ago Pat

Love clams, will be trying this soon but will only use one size. The smaller the clam the better to me!!

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about 1 year ago cheese1227

Good luck! Let me know how it turns out for you.

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about 1 year ago kathleen Levine

Why bother with all these pans and two different sizes of clams why not just make all littlenecks or all cherrystones? I'm not sure I understand the reason behind making more of a mess & adding more steps just to have 2 different size clams. I mean I'm a clam gal who clams all the time and this recipe sounds GREAT but size is the only difference between a cherry and a littleneck.

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about 1 year ago cheese1227

Great points Kathleen! And you've likely gotten to the root of my husband's main complaint my cooking, too many pans. You can use whatever clams you like. My point here --which corresponded with a column on types of clams -- is that if you are using a mix, you need to deal with the different cooking times each requires.

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about 1 year ago kathleen Levine

Okay gotcha. Love the idea of the greens with the grain in here......can't wait to try it.

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about 1 year ago Janet

Can I use mussels instead of clams?

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about 1 year ago cheese1227

Certainly!

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about 1 year ago Horto

why do i always grab the pasta?

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about 1 year ago cheese1227

Pasta and clams is a great combo as well. I like the nuttiness of farro here, though.