One of the most enjoyable combinations is grilled bread and the broth from steamed clams. This recipe is special because it explicitly instructs you to place a piece of grilled bread at the bottom of your bowl, and then to ladle the clams and broth over the top of the bread. If you eat the clams first, you will be left with a piece of grilled bread turned soft after absorbing the broth. This is the best part. —Josh Cohen
18 littleneck clams
littleneck clams, scrubbed under cold water
thick slices of rustic bread
cloves garlic, thinly sliced
dried chili flakes
dry white wine
A few sprigs fresh thyme
Juice of 1/2 lemon (optional)
roughly chopped parsley leaves, for garnish
Rinse the clams under cold running water. Then, submerge the clams in cold water, and store in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes. This will help remove grit or sand from the clams.
While the clams are in the refrigerator, make the grilled bread. Drizzle oil over both sides of your sliced bread. Grill the bread on a hot grill or grill pan. You want both sides of the bread to be slightly charred around the edges. Keep a close eye on the bread while it cooks, it can go from perfectly grilled to completely burnt very quickly. Set the grilled bread aside in a warm place while you prepare the clams.
Set a large pot over medium heat, and add the butter. When the butter is fully melted, add the garlic and the chili flakes. Cook the garlic until it softens and begins to caramelize around the edges. Add the wine, along with the thyme and bay leaves. Adjust the heat to high and bring the wine to a boil.
When the wine is boiling, add the clams and cook with the lid on for 4 minutes. Remove the lid, and give the clams a quick stir. Place a large empty mixing bowl near you, and as the clams open, use a pair of tongs to transfer the clams from the pot to the mixing bowl. There can be a substantial amount of time between when the first clam opens and when the last clam opens. By transferring the open clams to a mixing bowl, it prevents them from overcooking and turning rubbery while you wait for the rest of the clams to open.
If your cooking liquid begins to evaporate too much while you wait for the clams to open, add some extra water to the pot as necessary. When all of the clams have opened, remove the pot from the heat and taste the remaining broth. If you want your broth to taste brighter and more acidic, add the juice of 1/2 lemon. If you want your broth to taste richer, add an extra tablespoon or two of butter. Adjust with salt as necessary. When you are happy with the taste of your broth, add the opened clams back to the pot, and set the pot over medium heat. Stir the clams. The clams are ready to serve when they are hot and coated with broth.
To serve, select a large shallow bowl. Place grilled bread at the bottom of the bowl. Ladle some clams and some broth over the top of the grilled bread. Garnish with chopped parsley. Enjoy.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, I'm perpetually inspired by the diversity of foods that exist in this city. I love shopping at the farmer's market, making ingredients taste like the best versions of themselves, and rolling fresh pasta.