Thursday, March 6, 2008

Clams with Chorizo and White Beans

Guerrilla: Fresh, live clams can be gotten pretty cheap at any Chinese fishmonger (I like this one) and are a snap to cook. Chorizo is great with shellfish, and you only need a little bit for a spicy punch.
Gourmet: Clams are delicious and lots of people think they're fancy and expensive. This Spanish/Portuguese way of cooking them is earthy and exotic.

Ingredients to serve two people:
15-20 Manila clams, should come in around. Here are a couple of rules that will make your shellfish experience a lot more enjoyable.
About 3 inches of (hold off on the gutter humor, please, Tore). Dry or fresh, your choice.
Half an onion, chopped.
One can of white beans. It would be much more guerrilla to buy dry beans and soak them, but I was lazy this time.
Half a bunch of cilantro, leaves chopped rough.
Several cloves of garlic, sliced.
A cup of dry white wine. Beer would probably be fine here too.
Olive oil, salt, pepper. If your chorizo lacks cojones, be ready with a hefty pinch or red pepper flakes and cumin.
Bread, pasta, or rice. Whatever you like to soak up the juices.

Get some olive oil smoking in a wide saute pan or the bottom of a pot (anything with a heavy bottom and tight lid) and toss the onions around until they soften. (If you have fresh, raw chorizo, add it too.) When the onions are soft, add the garlic. (If you have dry, cured chorizo, this is the time.) When things are nice and fragrant, add your liquid and give a few seconds to come to a simmer. Add the clams and most of the cilantro, shake the pan a bit to let things get acquainted, then slap the lid down. Let things simmer on heat until the clams are open (three or four minutes). I like to put a few pieces of bread (or a pile of rice or pasta) in the bottom of a bowl, spoon the clams stuff over the top and sprinkle with the rest of the cilantro. A wedge or two of lemon would be brilliant here too...