I had this dish for the first time in Barcelona, at a restaurant called Cafe Kafka. It combined two of my favorite foods--clams and artichokes--and was absolutely divine. I adapted this recipe loosely from a blog called Cocina Viva, and it tasted just like I remembered. The best part is the cooking liquid that's left in the bowls--succulent from the clams, grassy from the artichokes, pungent with garlic and parsley. You will want to drink it straight from the bowl, and that's fine by me. —ieatthepeach
4-6 as an appetizer
lemon juice (about 2 medium lemons' worth)
olive oil, plus more for drizzling
garlic cloves, minced
chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
In a large saucepan or small stockpot, combine 1 quart (4 cups) water and lemon juice. Working one at a time, strip off the tough outer leaves from the artichokes, until you expose the lighter green center leaves. Trim the stem ends, and cut about 1 inch crosswise off the top to remove any remaining dark green leaf ends. Cut larger artichokes in quarters, and smaller ones in half; if there is a dark green or hairy choke in the middle, scrape it out with a spoon. As you finish each artichoke, drop it into the pot of water.
Once all the artichokes are prepped and in the water, place the pot over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Salt the water, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 5-10 minutes, or until the artichokes are just starting to get tender. Drain and set aside.
Inspect the clams, and discard any with cracked or broken shells. If any clams are slightly open, give them a gentle tap; if they don’t close within a few seconds, throw them out. Scrub the clams with a damp cloth to remove any lingering grit or dirt, and set aside.
In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds to a minute. Add artichokes and parsley, and toss to combine. Whisk together 2 cups water and cornstarch, and add to the pan. Add the clams on top of the artichokes, and bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and steam for 5-7 minutes, or until all the clams are open and the artichokes are completely tender. If any clams don’t open after about 10 minutes, take them out of the pot and throw them away.
Once all the clams are steamed, transfer the mixture to shallow bowls. Ladle some of the remaining liquid from the pan into each bowl. Season with salt and pepper, drizzle with olive oil, and garnish with more fresh parsley. Serve with lemon wedges to squeeze on top, and bread to soak up the juices.