8 ounces grape or cherry tomatoes
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Coarse kosher salt to taste
5 whole Calabrian chiles in oil
2 teaspoons chopped oregano, divided
5 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
¼ teaspoon Calabrian chile flakes (or substitute red pepper flakes)
1 small shallot, finely diced
1 small fennel bulb, core removed and sliced thin
⅔ cup dry white wine
2 pounds (about 2 dozen) littleneck clams, scrubbed clean and purged*
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons chopped parsley
1 loaf crusty artisanal bread, sliced 1-inch thick
Herb butter (recipe follows)
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
¼ cup basil
¼ cup parsley
2 tablespoons chives
½ teaspoon coarse kosher salt
*Purging clams: There’s nothing like a clam full of mud to spoil your day (and your sauce). It is possible to avoid with a bit of planning ahead. About 2 to 3 hours before you are ready to cook your clams, dissolve 2½ ounces of sea salt in 2 liters of filtered, non-chlorinated water. Scrub clams clean, then submerge in this mixture and allow them to purge of dirt and grit. Remove from purging liquid and continue with recipe as directed (discard the dirty salt water).
For the clams
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Toss tomatoes with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt. Bake on a foil-lined sheet pan until tomatoes are soft and begin to caramelize, 30 to 40 minutes. Set aside.
- Remove stems and seeds from Calabrian chiles and slice into thin rings. Place in a small bowl and stir in 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 teaspoon oregano. Set aside.
- Heat remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large, shallow skillet over medium heat. Add sliced garlic, chile flakes, and shallot and sauté until soft and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add fennel and cook just until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in wine. Bring to a simmer, then add prepared clams, hinge-side down. Cover skillet with a tight-fitting lid or foil and cook over medium-low heat until clams have opened, 8 to 10 minutes.
- Fold cooked tomatoes and lemon juice into skillet. Spoon some of the Calabrian chile-oregano oil generously over top (reserve some for those who like it spicy). Sprinkle with remaining oregano and parsley. Serve hot with crusty bread slathered with herb butter.
- Herb Butter: Combine all ingredients in a small food processor and pulse until evenly combined.
From Clams with a Kick.
Recipe ByJenni Ridall