Make Ahead

Corn, Bacon, and Clam Stew

August 25, 2010
5 Ratings
Photo by Rocky Luten
  • Serves 4
Test Kitchen Notes

We tend to think of one-pot meals as limited to cold wintry nights. But some of the best one pot meals, like paella and clam bakes, are made for summer time. Matt Greco, the chef at Char No. 4 in Brooklyn, came up with a marvelous corn dish that’s layered into a braising pot on the stove (though you could also do it out on your grill if you’d like.). Matt browns bacon (he makes his own, of course, but you should use whatever kind you like from the grocery store), then adds smoked paprika, corn, and bourbon. To finish the dish, he nestles littleneck clams into the corn, letting them steam open right in the pot, and showers the dish with chopped basil. Summer squared. - A
—The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 2 tablespoons Olive oil
  • 1/2 pound thick-cut bacon, cut into lardons
  • 1 tablespoon sweet smoked paprika
  • 6 ears corn, shucked and cut from the cobs
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1/2 pound sungold yellow cherry tomatoes, halved
  • half of one lemon
  • 3 tablespoons bourbon
  • 16 littleneck clams, scrubbed well
  • 8 thick slices country bread, for serving
  • small handful basil leaves, torn
  1. Place a large, deep heavy soup pot over medium heat. Add the oil and bacon, and cook until the fat is rendered and the lardons are browned. Stir in the paprika and cook for 30 seconds.
  2. Add the corn, season with salt, and stir, cooking for about 2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and cover. Cook until the tomatoes soften, about 5 minutes.
  3. Squeeze in the juice from the lemon and pour in the bourbon, stir, and turn off the heat. Add the clams with the mouth facing up. Turn on the heat to medium, cover the pot, and cook the until the clams open, 5 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, grill or toast the bread. Remove the pot from the heat, sprinkle with basil, and bring the bread and the pot -- and a trivet -- to the table for serving.
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59 Reviews

Sofia Z. August 2, 2023
I was craving seafood yesterday but wanted something easy to make. Boy, this was the recipe to make! I did not have bourbon so I just substituted it with water. The dish was still a flavor bomb so I am curious to try with bourbon next time. Will be making it again for sure...
mgtmcki November 10, 2021
This was fantastic. I cut the recipe in half for 2 servings, however, I up'd the number of clams to 20 and kept the 3 tbs of bourbon. It was great. No leftovers.
Sheltie_Mom_4ever May 22, 2021
Oh my! This looks amazing! Seems so simple, yet fancy and delicious. Can’t wait to try!
meryl September 16, 2020
can I make ahead?
Tom B. July 2, 2017
First time trying fresh clams at home—plus a few mussels since Pike Place Market is just down the hill. Restaurant-style perfection at home! Thanks for a simple and easy recipe.
Chef D. November 28, 2015
Great photography in this recipe, well done!
and who doesnt like something with bacon :)
Mallory August 7, 2015
I know there's no real substitute for bacon...but any ideas? Or would it be decent without the bacon?
James Y. August 1, 2015
Just so happens that I planted sun golds this year and the sweet corn is just now coming in in SW Pennsylvania. This recipe is awesome. I now have 4 'must haves' that define summer. BlackBerry pie, Mexican street fair corn, a tomato sandwich and this.
Jaclyn R. September 1, 2014
Is there a suggested substitute for the bourbon? Something non-alcoholic...
Beautiful dish combining smoky, sweet and salty. Brilliant. Used 1/2 Tbs smoked paprika (not sweet) as other reviews mentioned and cognac instead of bourban. I served over rice but I see works probably better with crusty bread. My 2 year old enjoyed it as well. Did it without cherry tomatoes since they are not yet in season but looking forward to trying it again soon when the sungolds come out. Thank you for this great recipe!
David J. August 28, 2013
This was a wonderful dish. However, I might go a little lighter on the smoked paprika. It pushed the dish a little far in the direction of dark. Otherwise, great dish!
kath1 August 15, 2013
This was delicious, thanks Matt. I used mussels instead, too landlocked for clams. I think it would be amazing with chorizo (the raw cured sausage not the minced meat or sliced sausage) instead of bacon and will try that next time.
Monica M. July 9, 2013
This looks amazing!
Canuck July 8, 2013
Can you add other stuff like prawns and mussels?
drbabs July 9, 2013
ElisaLouk May 16, 2013
I made this for a girls dinner party and it came out just as beautifully as the picture!! Super yummy. The yellow cherry tomatoes were new to me and SO good. Plus, anything that has a half pound of bacon can't be that bad!
QueenSashy May 14, 2013
Cannot wait for summer to make this dish!
Jenelle B. January 20, 2013
could I substitute mussels in the dish?
htan January 17, 2013
I've made this a few times and its ALWAYS delicious!! my favorite thing to do with clams in the summer
Digitalmikey December 29, 2012
Made it a couple of times now and always liked. It's also great due to the simplicity and the quick cooking time!
rochelle123 August 26, 2012
This was excellent!! I reduced the smoked paprika to 1/2 T as suggested by another reviewer. These were the flavors of August!