Why I Love This Recipe
I've discovered a new vendor at my local farmer's market, an aquafarm that produced very high-quality shellfish. Ergo, I've been toying with various clams/mussels recipes quite a bit recently. This recipe is a very loose adaptation of one that came out of a Bon Appetit issue from about eight years ago - I simply went with whatever I had in the kitchen, instead of buying all the ingredients. It's a keeper, in my mind.
Ingredients You'll Need
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
5 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup sliced leeks
1/2 cup thinly sliced celery
6 1/4"-thick slices jalapeno chili with seeds
1/4 cup tequila
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 1/4 lbs clams or mussels (about 40, mussels scrubbed and debearded)
Melt butter in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add garlic; saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Mix in next five ingredients. Add shellfish. Cover and steam until shellfish open, about 7 minutes.
Using slotted spoon, transfer shellfish to large bowl. Simmer sauce, uncovered, until slightly reduced, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour over shellfish and serve.
Shellfish such as clams and mussels really are quite easy and fast to prepare. Be sure to get them from a reliable source - that's the most important part.
Both should get a quick scrub to remove any dirt from the shells. The mussels need to be debearded - grab that little fringe that's hanging out of the shell and pull. And both clams and mussels are best bought live. They'll likely come with shells tightly closed. If they're slightly open, give them a tap. They'll close up after a few moments. If they don't, discard them - they're already with their maker.
The tequila adds a heady aroma to this dish, but is not overly boozy. Be sure to use caution when adding the alcohol to the pan - if it's too hot, it might flame up. That's okay, it's just the alcohol burning off, but you don't want to be leaning over the pan if it happens.
The broth is rich and spicy, and goes well with the shellfish. It also goes well with bread to soak up whatever's left over. This whole dish comes together very quickly - fifteen minutes at the most - and can be a main dish as well as an appetizer. Once the shellfish open up, remove them from the heat - you don't want them to overcook and turn into tough, rubbery little hockey pucks. Serve with a nice wine (or a shot of said tequila) and a side of roasted asparagus for a good meal.
Oh, if you're wondering where the picture is... sorry, I ate them all.