Tommy Habetz adopted the southern Mediterranean style of pairing spicy cured meats and shellfish while working with chef Mark Ladner at Lupa in Manhattan. Today he combines hot soppressata with Manila clams, a very common West Coast shellfish; for cooks on the East Coast, he recommends using either littleneck clams or cockles.
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1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3 ounces thinly sliced hot soppressata, cut into 1/4-inch strips
1/2 medium sweet onion, very thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/3 cup dry white wine
1/3 cup sweet vermouth
5 pounds Manila or littleneck clams or cockles, scrubbed and rinsed
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
How to Make It
In a large, deep skillet, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the thinly sliced garlic, hot soppressata, sweet onion and crushed red pepper and cook over moderate heat until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and vermouth and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the clams, cover and cook, shaking the skillet a few times, until all of the shells have opened, about 5 minutes. Discard any clams that do not open.
Using a slotted spoon or Chinese wire skimmer, transfer the clams to shallow bowls. Add the chopped parsley and lemon juice to the broth in the skillet, then bring to a simmer. Ladle the broth over the clams and serve.
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