In June, 2009, this recipe was paired with the Bonneau Wines, ’07 Los Carneros Chardonnay, Catherine’s Vineyard ($28), which was sent to members of our Maya’s Collectible Selections sampling program. Click here to find alternative wines.
The richness of fresh clams provides a great foil for chardonnay, especially when white wine is used in the clam pot. But please don’t use this great wine for cooking! Its beautiful nuance would be cooked off, and that would be a shame. Instead, pick up a bottle of the $8 or $9 stuff for the clam pot – the less oak influence the better, as oak will concentrate and dominate the dish. Just be sure it’s something you would actually put in your mouth – cooking with bad wine just amplifies its flavors!
3 Pounds fresh clams, well scrubbed. Throw out any that do not close when cleaning. They be dead. Bad to the bone*.
1/3 Cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 Ozs diced Serrano ham (a dried ham similar to prosciutto, with a somewhat sweeter taste)
½ tsp Red pepper chili flakes
1 Pinch paprika
4 Cloves garlic, minced
¾ Cup dry white wine
½ Cup water
2 Tbsp chopped parsley
Heat a large (wide bottomed) skillet over medium heat, add the oil, then the ham. Cook until almost crispy, stirring often. Add red pepper flakes, paprika and garlic and stir constantly for about a minute, just until the garlic is gives up its aromatics. If you take a call from your mother and the garlic burns while you’re gabbing, ya gotta start over. Focus.
Add the wine and reduce for about a minute, scraping up any brown bits from the pan. Add the water and bring to a simmer for 2 minutes. Add the clams and cover. Increase the heat to high and cook until the clams begin to open – they get tough if cooked too long, so be ready with tongs in hand and a serving bowl at the ready. They only take about five minutes. Throw out any clams whose shells are not open and reduce the broth for another couple of minutes..
Pour the broth over the clams in the serving dish (or place four clams on individual appetizer dishes, if using as tapas!), sprinkle with parsley and serve with a side of toasted bread.
Dave the Wine Merchant
Quote of the Day:
Researchers have found that clams reproduce at 10 times their normal rate when Prozac is introduced into their aqueous environment. Apparently, Prozac is an effective mussel relaxer!
*Yes, I KNOW clams don’t have bones. It’s just an expression. Would you rather I said “bad to the mantle?” or “Bad Quahog”?? Sorry, neither works for me.