Spicy Tomato Clams
Up until a few years ago I didn't eat most seafood. Aside from shrimp I hated anything that came from the sea. There is literally a story that gets bounced around at parties about the time I ate poke at a company christmas party and I turned green in the face. No kidding green in the face. So for me to be posting a recipe on clams means I've really grown and so has my palette.
If you have a picky palette or someone in your family does this recipe is a great place to start. The tomato sauce makes this a really approachable seafood dish for beginners. It's also a great dish for party. I will get into how to serve this as a party dish a little later.
Now if you are new to clams it is good to know that there are different types of clams. Little neck clams are what I usually cook with. It is the smallest of types and I feel the best for beginners. The larger clams are much chewier and not as easy to slurp down. Good rule of thumb is little neck clams will usually have between 7 - 10 clams per pound and each person should have at least 6. I had a great big 2 pound bag that had 26 clams, and YAY every single one opened beautifully. Whole foods in the city was selling these beauties at $5.99/lb. In comparison to the ahi, scallops, or shrimp I was considering for a post I thought this was a bargain. Im looking at you Ahi $40/lb.
These clams offered a show stopping dinner at a very reasonable price. For a party I served these as a dish at a tapas style meal. The dish pairs well with red or white wine and really gets people into the food. For tapas style serve 3 on a plate with a piece of fresh bread to mop up the sauce afterwards. I don't recommend leaving this on any holiday buffet line because well you know its seafood and it spoils quickly, but as dish that is quick to make and will wow your friends and family its a great idea.
Tips for making it for a party: Prep all the ingredients the morning off the party. About 10 minutes before everyone arrives you can whip up these beauties and enjoy with some yummy fresh bread dipped into the sauce. Make sure to have forks near by incase some don't feel comfortably using their hands. Serving these family style at a dinner party will be a success just make sure to have an extra plate for shells in the place setting. As for allergies, if you are thinking of serving this and don't know all the guests really well, it's a good idea to have a salad with no seafood. I've also included on invites a place for people to note on the rsvp about any allergies. As a person with allergies this is a nice thoughtful way to include everyone. Also it's good not to send anyone to the hospital.
Spicy Tomato Clams
2 pounds of little neck clams – fresh, washed, and roughly dried
4 pieces of uncured bacon
3 cloves of garlic minced
¼ cup of lemon juice
1 cup of white wine – non sweet
½ cup of diced onions
½ cup of flat leaf Italian parsley chopped
2 teaspoons of crushed red pepper flakes
4 tablespoons of butter
½ cup of fire roasted crushed tomatoes
¼ cup of heavy cream
1 tablespoon of olive oil
Optional – Shredded Parmesan Cheese
1. Using a large saucepan with lid place on medium high heat. Add bacon, onions, garlic and olive oil. When the bacon starts to crispy slightly add clams, wine, lemon juice, butter, ¼ cup of parsley, and crushed red pepper flakes and cover with lid. Steam for about 5-7 minutes. All the clams should open. IF the clam did not open and all the other clams have opened your best bet is to toss it. Do not eat clams that do not open after cooking.
2. Remove lid and take clams out and place aside. Immediately add tomatoes, and heavy cream to the pot. Stirring constantly cook till it thickens. Careful not to boil the sauce because the cream and the tomatoes will separate.
3. Serve over clams and sprinkle with the rest of the parsley. I like to add a little parmesan cheese. Serve with your favorite pasta.