By Seth Fera-Schanes
Included below are two little neck clam recipes I put together (which originally appeared on The Refined Chef website.)
The first dish starts with a base of Chardonnay to steam open the clams and features a mixture of caramelized fennel and shallots paired with a smoky chorizo. The sweet and smokey combination alongside the oaky Chardonnay makes for a comforting meal.
The second preparation begins with a lager beer for the base liquid and highlights spring ramps (also known as wild leeks.) This is a minimalist preparation that allows the full flavored ramps to shine.
Cook time: 30 minutes
1 cup fennel bulb – thinly sliced
1/2 cup shallot – thinly sliced
1 chorizo link – freshly made not dried
1 cup white wine – I use Chardonnay
Fresh parsley for garnish
In a wide base cooking pot (such as a dutch oven) over medium heat, add a little olive oil. Allow to heat for about 1 minute. Add sliced fennel and shallot mixture. Cook over medium/low heat for about 10 minutes stirring every few minutes. You want the fennel and shallots to soften. Remove from pot and set aside.Cut chorizo in to 1/4 inch pieces and add into the same pot you cooked the fennel mixture. Cook over medium heat for about 5-7 minutes. You want the pieces almost fully cooked.
Add cooked fennel and shallots back into pot with chorizo and cook for an additional 5 minutes stirring occasionally.
Thoroughly wash littleneck clams and make sure they are tightly closed before using. Do not use clams that are open before they have been cooked.
Add clams into pot with chorizo, fennel and shallot mixture. Add 1 cup of white wine. Cover pot and allow to cook for 5-10 minutes or until all the clams have fully opened. Time will vary depending on size of clams. You can check around 3 minutes to see if they are done.
Note: I don’t add salt or pepper to this dish because there is enough in the chorizo and natural brine in the clams.
Appetizer – 3 clams per plate and top with fennel and shallot mixture and some broth. Top with some chopped parsley.
6 clams per plate if you would like to serve two for a light lunch. Serve with a side salad.
12 clams for a person meal – Enjoy!
Cook time: 5-10 minutes
5-7 ramps – chopped
1 12 ounce beer – Lager (I used Session Lager)
Fresh cracked pepper
In a pot add approximately 1 tbsp of unsalted butter and a drizzle of olive oil. Turn heat to medium low and allow butter to melt but do not burn.Add chopped ramps and cook for 3 minutes stirring occasionally. Add 1 beer and increase heat.
Thoroughly wash clams. Discard any that are not tightly closed. Once beer is simmering, add clams and then place lid on the pot.
Cook until clams all pop open, around 5 minutes. Do not overcook (once the clams open they are done.)
Place all clams in a bowl and then ladle ramps and beer broth over the top. Finish with freshly cracked pepper.