Clams are phenomenal. And basically idiot proof. Guys if you want to impress your lady (or man) with a fancy tasting, fancy looking home cooked meal that was a cinch to prepare, this is the recipe for you. There is so much natural flavor locked inside the modest mollusk that all you have to do is gently coax it out…by getting them drunk. And really it can be that simple! Clams + oil + (a lot of) wine + heat = bombness.
This recipe calls for only a few more ingredients but to be honest they’re all optional, depending on how clammy you want your broth to taste; the fewer, the clammier. I added a half cup of tomato sauce and a whole lot of chili flake to this particular batch for a more complex red sauce that was super satisfying for bread dipping and sipping. There are few meals more satisfying for Julia and I than a hearty baguette, a bottle of prosecco, and a heaping pile of clams sautéed in garlic, wine, and their own delectable juices.
Now a few notes on this recipe.
- The tomato sauce is obviously optional, but there are really no rules about the type of tomato sauce you could use. I used a sauce with a pancetta, shallot base, but you could use anything from a wine heavy sauce, to a sausage based sauce, to a spicy sauce, to plain ‘ole tomato sauce to kick this simple clam broth up to the next level.
- This should go without saying but the better the quality the clams you toss into your pan, the better tasting this dish will be. Now what do I mean by that? I mean that ideally, the fish counter guy who picked out your clams was observant enough to toss out any obviously already dead mollusks, and then you picked through your clams and removed any broken, open or funky ones, and cleaned them before you added them to the pan. Do not trust that the clams you’re about to dump into your pan are worthy of consumption until you examine them. And remember, healthy clams are better tasting clams.
- I highly recommend drinking heavily while eating this dish. Why not double down on happiness?
- This dish is appetizer ready! Assume that if you need 1 lb of clams per person for an entrée sized portion, you need 1/4lb of clams per person for an app sized plate. In short, the recipe below serves 2 for dinner and 8 for apps.