Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Clams by Another Name

After a lovely day at the beach on Sunday, Fork and I emerged from Penn Station wondering what to have for dinner. One look at the long taxi line on 7th Avenue was all we needed to convince us to walk home--via a route that took us past Garden of Eden.

We picked up two dozen Connecticut littleneck clams, some tomatoes, a cucumber, dill and a $1 bag of day-old bread. A stop at the wine shop for a chilled bottle of Albarino (our latest favorite, from Galicia and perfectly crisp) and we were set. On the agenda: the unfortunately-named Gwyneth's Clams. The recipe comes from a road trip Gwyneth Paltrow, Mario Batali and Mark Bittman took through Spain, documented in a TV series, forthcoming book and recent article in Food & Wine. Dirty jokes from Fork notwithstanding, we were kind of psyched to try Gwyneth's clams.

There's not much to the dish: well-scrubbed clams steam open in the wine, with a horizontally halved head of garlic and a couple of bay leaves. Drizzle the opened clams and wine broth with olive oil, and dinner's ready. Before preparing the clams--which took all of 10 minutes--I threw together a tomato/cucumber/dill salad, a classic summer salad my friend Anne taught me years ago.

It probably goes without saying that we wiped this out. The clams were delicious, and you tasted more of their ocean flavor since they were cooked in wine, not butter. Sopping up the broth with the bread (and rubbing it first on the halved garlic head floating around inside the wine) was very enjoyable, too. Aside from the name, this is one of my favorite dishes of the summer.--S

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