Everyone likes a good deal, especially my Dad. Over the years he’s made bargain hunting his hobby, and he looks forward to an afternoon at Costco the way many women anticipate Barney’s Warehouse Sale. Whenever I visit my parents I enjoy sharing a shopping trip or two with him, and today we brought home Littleneck clams, 5 lbs on sale for $12. Now, what to do with them for dinner? We decided to make Manhattan-style Littleneck Clams. All the flavor of a Manhattan-style rich tomato broth, but without the starchy potatoes of a chowder. It’s light, but hearty. Perfect for a cool summer night.
Manhattan-Style Littleneck Clams
12 garlic cloves, crushed
4 shallots, diced
1 large yellow onion, cut
1/4 cup of Sherry cooking wine
Half of a 6 oz. can of Tomato Paste
4 tablespoons of horseradish
One 4 oz. container of Calamares squid pieces
1/2 cup of Artichoke hearts, marinated in oil
2 cups of white wine (we used Chardonnay)
dash of browning liquid (about 1-2 tablespoons. If you don’t have browning liquid, use Worcestershire sauce.)
dash of liquid smoke*
5 lbs of Littleneck Clams
3 teaspoons fresh basil, roughly chopped
3 teaspoons fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
*I use liquid smoke because I’m a vegetarian–this adds some delicious smokiness to the flavor profile of the broth. But, if you’re a meat eater, by all means feel free to substitute 4 slices of bacon instead of using liquid smoke. If you do, chop up the bacon slices and brown them in the pan while you’re sweating the onions (step 3 below).
1. Smash the garlic cloves and dice the shallots. Put them into a large pot with several generous dashes of olive oil, set the heat to medium.
2. Cut up the onion and add it to the pot. Let the onions, garlic and shallots cook until the onions turn translucent and begin to brown just a tad.
3. When the onions are browned, de-glaze the pot by adding the sherry cooking wine.
4. Next, add the tomato paste and the horseradish. Give the pot a good stir until all the ingredients are incorporated.
5. Add the container of the squid pieces. This will transform the developing broth from a deep red color to a rich brown.
6. Cut the lemon in half, squeeze the juice into the pot, and then add the lemon itself.
7. Add the artichokes, a dash of browning liquid, a dash of liquid smoke*, then the white wine. Give the pot a big stir, then let it simmer on low heat for 20 minutes. The liquid should reduce slightly.
8. Add the clams to the pot and cover. Keep the flame on low heat and simmer for 8-12 minutes. Keep an eye on them–when the steam has cooked the clams they will open up on their own.
Garnish with roughly chopped basil and cilantro, and enjoy with a slice of thick, crusty bread and a glass of white wine!