Clams with Bacon, Butter, and Herbs

Oh man! Littleneck clams are one of my favorite things ever. Not only are they insanely easy to make, but you can switch up a million different ways! Clams produce a lot of juice as they cook, so you end up with a super flavorful broth that's perfect for a warm, crusty bread! Before I add the clams back to the pot of broth, I like to use a glass measuring cup to remove about 1 cup of the broth from the pot. Then I add the clams back and pour the reserved broth on top to ensure that all clams are covered with that super tasty broth!

This meal was even easier to make with RSVP International's amazing citrus juicer! This thing is heavy-duty but still easy to use! My husband juiced the lime right into the pot and we didn't have to worry about any stray seeds slipping in there. 

This meal is a tiny bit more expensive to throw together, so if you want to cut costs, I recommend replacing the clams with mussels. It'll still be delicious! You will end up making extra dressing (really, it's more like an aioli), but the remainder will last for 5 days in the fridge!

GRADE

Serves: 2

Cost: $$$

Skill Level: Easy

Time to Make: 35 minutes

INGREDIENTS

4 thick slices of bacon

2 tablespoons basil

3 garlic cloves

30 littleneck clams

1/2 cup chicken stock

2 tablespoons butter

1 small bunch of chives

Juice and zest of 1 lime

Crushed red pepper to taste

Salt and pepper to taste

Warm, crusty bread for serving

FOR THE SALAD AND DRESSING

2 handfuls baby arugula

3 small radishes

1/2 English cucumber

1 small shallot

1 egg, plus 1 egg yolk

Flaky sea salt and freshly cracked pepper

Cayenne powder

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

METHOD

Prep Ingredients: Cut the bacon into lardons. Mince the basil. Thinly slice the garlic. Scrub the clams and chill until ready to use. Mince the chives. Thinly slice the cucumber and radish.

Make the Salad: In a bowl, combine the arugula, sliced radish, and sliced cucumber. Chill until ready to use.

Make the Dressing: Add the shallot to a food processor and pulse until well minced. Add the egg and egg yolk and pulse until smooth and creamy. Add the cayenne powder, flaky sea salt, freshly cracked pepper and pulse until combined. Slowly stream in the extra virgin olive oil as you pulse to emulsify it. Continue pulsing until the dressing is smooth and creamy. Taste and season as necessary. Transfer to a container with a lid and chill until ready to use.

Prepare the Clams: Add the bacon to a large pot with a lid. Turn the heat to medium high and cook until all the fat has rendered and the bacon is crispy, about 7 minutes. Remove all but 2 tablespoons of bacon fat from the pot. Add the basil and sliced garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes more or until the sauce is very fragrant. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. 

Gently add the clams to the broth and cover immediately for 7-10 minutes. After 10 minutes remove the cover and take out all the clams that have opened and transfer them to a large bowl. Return the cover to the pot for an additional 3-5 minutes. Transfer all the opened clams to the bowl and discard any that haven't opened.

Add the butter, chives, crushed red pepper, and the lime juice and zest to the broth and bring to a boil. Boil for 5-10 minutes or until the broth has reduced a bit. Carefully remove about 1 cup of the broth from the pot with a tempered glass (or metal) measuring cup. Transfer the clams back to the broth and pour the reserved broth on top. Remove from heat and serve.

To Serve: Divide the salad between bowls and drizzle the dressing on top. Serve the pot of clams at the table with an empty bowl for the shells. Serve with crusty bread. Enjoy a very romantic meal for two!

Designer and photographer living in NYC. I work as a design manager in ed tech and I make tasty recipes in my spare time!