2 dozen mahogany or littleneck clams, scrubbed and rinsed
1 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons minced shallots
1 fresh thyme sprig
Freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon minced fresh chives
1 1/2 to 2 ounces sevruga or osetra caviar
2 dozen fresh chervil leaves and tiny lemon triangles (see Note), for garnish
How to Make It
In a large nonreactive saucepan, combine the clams with the wine, shallots, thyme sprig and a pinch of pepper. Cover and cook over high heat until the clams just open, about 8 minutes. Transfer the clams to a bowl with a slotted spoon; strain and reserve 1 1/2 teaspoons of the cooking liquid. Remove the empty half-shell from each clam and reserve.
In a small bowl, combine the heavy cream, lemon juice, chives and the reserved cooking liquid. Gently fold in the caviar. Season the cream with salt and pepper. Just before serving, spoon the caviar cream over each clam and garnish with the chervil and lemon wedges.
The clams and cream can be made early in the day and refrigerated.
To make the lemon garnish, peel a lemon with a sharp knife, removing all the bitter white pith. Cut in between the membranes to release the sections into a bowl. Squeeze the membranes to extract the juice. Use the juice in the recipe and then cut a few of the sections into tiny triangles.
This dish can also be made without the caviar, using medium mussels in place of the clams.
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