Chili-Lime Clams

Following the grad party, we capped off the craziness with one additional big event, my younger son earned his black belt. These two boys simply make me proud. 

I can no longer count how many grad parties I have attended this year, but we are now in the second week of what I will call “normal” for this summer and I am loving it. The pace is relaxed and I am enjoying being outside and cooking outside. 

Last Sunday was a typical Sunday dinner for us with my boys and in-laws. I had been eying up a new Bon Appétit recipe and was excited to try it. I made a couple of modifications and scaled it up for my usual group, but for the most part made it as it was described. I accompanied the meal with a spinach Greek salad, grilled corn on the cob, and spaghetti aglio et olio (garlic and oil). 

There wasn’t a lot to do in advance, so I started with the prep inside, chopping the shallots and garlic, scrubbing the clams, and rinsing the tomatoes and beans. If you haven’t cooked with clams before, “scrubbing” them is exactly what it sounds like, under very cold water, scrub the shells with a brush to remove all of grit so that it doesn’t end up in your meal.

              
Outside, I began to heat my grill and inside I boiled water and set up my skillet for the final pasta. I have a huge cast iron skillet that I put on the grill along with the corn. Once the pan was hot, I put the butter then shallots and garlic, quickly followed by the tomato paste. Grilling corn requires no advance work, the only trick is a couple of towels (that you don’t mind getting dirty) at the end to shuck them. They will be very hot, but the shucks and silk come off very easily. 

          
I added the tomatoes and chickpeas together to make sure that the beans were tender and that the tomatoes had enough time to fall apart (in the future I would cut the tomatoes in half to speed up the process. After they cooked for a bit, I stirred in the sambal oelek, and let it boil a bit longer. 

  

After adding the clams, I used foil to cover the skillet and drizzled the bread with oil.

    

I used most of the clam cooking time to shuck the corn and with a few minutes left added the bread to the grill. 

  

After they were done, I did a quick chop on some fresh basil and tossed the pasta with sautéed garlic, salt, pepper, Parmesan, and the basil while my husband tossed the salad. 

  

Dinner is served.


Chile-Lime Clams with Tomatoes and Grilled Bread

Entrées, Grilling, Shellfish, Summer, Tested and Approved!
Makes 4 servings ∙ Source Bonappetit.com

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces, divided
  • 2 large shallots, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 cup beer
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 15.5-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons (or more) sambal oelek
  • 24 littleneck clams, scrubbed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 4 thick slices country-style bread
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • ½ cup cilantro leaves with tender stems
  • Lime wedges (for serving)

DIRECTIONS

Prepare a grill for medium heat, placing a large cast-iron skillet on the grill to heat with it.

Once hot, melt 4 Tbsp. butter in skillet. Add shallots and garlic and cook, stirring often, until soft, about 4 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring often, until paste darkens to a rich brick-red color, about 1 minute. Add beer, tomatoes, and chickpeas. Bring to a boil and cook until beer is reduced nearly by half and no longer smells boozy, about 4 minutes. Stir in sambal oelek, cook for an additional 4-5 minutes then add clams. Cover (if you don’t have a lid that fits, use a sheet of foil) and cook, stirring occasionally, until clams have fully opened; this could take from 5–15 minutes depending on size of clams and the heat level.

While the clams are cooking on the grill, drizzle bread with oil and season lightly with salt. Grill until golden brown and crisp, about 2 minutes per side.

Remove from heat; discard any clams that don’t open. Stir in lime juice and remaining 2 Tbsp. butter.

Transfer toast to plates and spoon clam mixture over; top with cilantro. Serve with lime wedges for squeezing over.

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