Steamed Clams with Purple Potatoes

This recipe turned out to be quite an endeavor given my complete unfamiliarity with mollusks. I've heard the best place in town to buy fresh seafood is the Fish Lady in Soquel, so I made my way down there one Sunday afternoon planning to buy clams for the first time ever. My naïveté soon shone to a whole new level as I waited in line at the glass case displaying the daily catch... I was eyeing all of the items in the case when I swore out of the corner of my eye I saw the little clams move in the bowl. I thought clams were, like, you know, dead when you buy them at the store. Apparently not... I've never cooked anything living and certainly had no intention of starting that day. I booked it to the Whole Foods down the street and picked up perfectly fine, albeit slightly less fresh clams that were completely closed, modestly containing their innards in their innocuous shells. A good scrubbing and steam later, they were perfect! 

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 lbs little neck clams, washed and scrubbed
  • 2 pieces bacon
  • 5 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 3 medium carrots
  • 4-5 small fingerling potatoes (I used purple)
  • 1/2 tsp herbes de provonce
  • salt & pepper to taste

Extra options

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup cream

Directions

In a large sauté pan over medium heat, cook the bacon until done but not crispy, set aside and chop to bits when cool. In the bacon fat reserved in the pan, add the garlic and shallots and cook for 3-5 minutes or until softened, stirring occasionally. Add the white wine and let simmer down for 5 minutes, then add the chicken broth. Add the bacon bits, clams, carrots, potatoes, and herbs and bring to a boil. Reduce to a rolling simmer, cover with a lid, and cook until the clams open up. Remove from the heat and *if* you want extra rich flavor, add the butter and the cream and stir. Serve immediately. Serve with sourdough bread for dipping, or over a bed of linguine.