Abraham Conlon of Fat Rice in Chicago uses Portuguese Vinho Verde, a light and refreshing young wine, to add bright, delicious flavor to his briny clams.
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup minced garlic
2 fresh long hot red chiles—stemmed, seeded and thinly sliced crosswise
64 littleneck clams, scrubbed (about 6 pounds)
1 cup Vinho Verde or other Portuguese white wine
1 cup minced cilantro
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus lemon wedges for serving
Kosher salt and white pepper
How to Make It
In a large pot, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the garlic and chiles and cook over high heat, stirring, until fragrant and the garlic is just starting to brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the clams and wine. Cover and steam until the clams just open, about 8 minutes. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, transfer the clams to a baking sheet; discard any that don’t open.
Boil the cooking liquid over high heat until reduced by half, about 7 minutes. Stir in the minced cilantro and lemon juice, add the clams and season lightly with salt and white pepper; toss well. Transfer to a deep platter and serve with lemon wedges.
At Fat Rice in Chicago, wine director Craig Perman pairs these clams with the wine used in their preparation: a saline-tinged Vinho Verde.
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