CLAMS WITH SPANISH CHORIZO AND CHERRY TOMATOES

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If Pepperoni married Smoky Paprika and had a baby, it would be Spanish Chorizo.  Unlike the Mexican and Caribbean chorizo, it is dry-cured and ready to slice and eat (with a hunk of good bread and some green olives) or dice and saute with some onions and garlic as the base layer for this amazing clam dish I was inspired to create in honor of a special day with my cousins in New York City.  I think the best dishes come about as a longing to recreate and connect with people we care about through food we have shared.  It’s really the essence of what makes me and you Home Artists.

I was whisked away by my native New Yorker cousins, Harriette and Lisa to the Metropolitan Museum of Art followed by a delicious supper at a nearby upper westside restaurant on 82nd Street, FLEX MUSSELS– known for their Prince Edward Island mussels, frites and the dozen or so combinations of briney broths. (Oh my…the Thai broth with coconut with lemon grass and Thai basil.)   You should know they also have an awesome mussel/frite happy hour deal.

Upon my return to Los Angeles, I was browsing Mr. Marcel’s Gourmet Market at the 3rd and Fairfax Farmer’s Market when I spotted some Spanish chorizo in their charcuterie case and a fresh baguette.   The snapshot of a finished dish that brought back that delicious supper with my family crystalized in my mindseye.  Here’s what I made.

 CLAMS WITH SPANISH CHORIZO, SMOKEY PAPRIKA AND CHERRY TOMATOES

Serves 2

2-3 dozen Manilla or Little Neck clams

2 cups cherry tomatoes (small basket)

3-4 Tablespoons olive oil, divided

4-6 ounces of diced Spanish Chorizo  (about 1.5 cups) (I used Palaccio brand, hot (it had a slight kick)

3-4 cloves of garlic, minced

2 tablespoons finely sliced shallots or 1/2 cup of minced brown onion

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 cup white wine

2 cups chicken broth

1/2 cup half and half (optional)

chopped parsley to garnish

METHOD:

1.Soak clams in water for 20 minutes, drain and set aside.  Toss any that do stay closed when you pinch them shut.

  1. Heat a deep skillet or pot with a fitted lid with medium heat until hot but not smoking, then add 1 tablespoons of olive oil followed by the tomatoes. Toss gently just to sear a bit to the point they are glistening but have not fallen apart.  Remove and set aside.
  2. Heat the remaining olive oil over medium heat then add the diced chorizo.  Saute for a minute or two then add the shallots (or onions) and garlic to sizzle but not burn followed by the smoked paprika.
  3. Add the wine and stir, letting it bubble gently.  Then add the chicken broth bring to a bubbling simmer again.  Add Half and Half if desired.  Cook about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add the clams, half the tomatoes, cover and cook over medium heat for about 3-5 minutes until clams open.  Garnish with the remaining tomatoes and parsley.
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