Steamed clams take on the flavors of chowder
An hommage to clam chowder perfect for a summer first course
Clams Steamed with corn, bacon and fingerlings, from Girl in the Kitchen by Stephanie Izard. (Dan Goldberg Photo/Chronicle Books)
Chef Stephanie Izard grew up on the East Coast, where she learned the fine art of great New England clam chowder. She has a clever way with reinterpreting classic dishes.
When I eyed this recipe in her book "Girl in the Kitchen" (Chronicle Books, $29.95), I had to try it. I think of it as clam chowder revisited. No flour, nor is it soupy, just the essential clam chowder flavors coming together in a fresh approach.
Indeed, Izard has created a wonderful summer first course. The bacon and clams duo is surely a match made in heaven, and the corn adds a layer of sweet flavor.
Lazy, relaxed summer evenings call for casual dishes like this one, served family-style. Serve with ice-cold beer or a chilled rose.
Izard suggests serving Irish stout because it has the same creaminess that plump steamed clams do, and the toasted malts go beautifully with smoky bacon.
Clams steamed with corn, bacon and fingerlings
Prep: 40 minutes
Cook: 1 hour, 10 minutes
Servings: 2 to 4
Note: From "Girl in the Kitchen," by Stephanie Izard.
12 ounces fingerling potatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper
3 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 ears corn, kernels cut off the cob
24 fresh littleneck clams, scrubbed
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons creme fraiche
1 tablespoon butter
Several sprigs fresh mint leaves, chopped
1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss the potatoes with the oil on a rimmed baking sheet or in a casserole dish; season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Roast until the potatoes are slightly tender, 45-60 minutes. Let cool; slice into 1/2-inch discs.
2. Heat a large Dutch oven or stockpot over medium heat. Add the bacon; cook until the fat is rendered and the bacon is just browned, about 7 minutes. Add the onion and garlic; cook until tender but not browned, 3-5 minutes. Add the sliced potatoes, corn and clams; season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour in the wine; cover. Steam the clams, about 10 minutes. When the clams are completely open, use a slotted spoon to transfer them, the vegetables and bacon to serving bowls or plates, leaving the liquid behind. (Discard any clams that don't open).
3. Stir the creme fraiche and butter into the cooking liquid; simmer over medium-low heat until slightly thickened, 3-5 minutes. Taste for seasoning; spoon the sauce over the clams and veggies. Garnish with the mint.
Per serving (for 4 servings): 313 calories, 11 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 56 mg cholesterol, 33 g carbohydrates, 21 g protein, 953 mg sodium, 3 g fiber.