Saturday, March 3, 2012

Clams Steamed in White Wine with Tarragon and Tomato

Recently my husband and I celebrated our 12th anniversary with a weekend trip to Seattle. On the night of our anniversary we dined on steamed clams in white wine (complete with a spectacular view of the Seattle skyline).  The clams were great, but we were all about the broth in the bottom of the serving bowl. So briny, so buttery and delicious! What was odd though is that they didn't serve us the dish with any bread to soak it all up with. Well that didn't dissuade us, we just picked up the empty clam shells and spooned up all that yummy wine-spiked clam broth (until we could flag down our waitress for some bread, which she happily obliged us).

I couldn't wait to get home and make my own version of white wine-steamed clams. And this time I made sure there was plenty of bread to soak up all the broth.

Clam Steamed in White Wine with Tarragon and Tomato
~serves 4 generously as a main course, serves 6-8 as an appetizer~

4 lb. clams (I use Manila clams here), scrubbed well, discarding any with broken shells as well as clams that          
     are open and won't close again after tapping them on the shell (dead clams)
2c. white wine
1 large shallot, minced (about 1/2 c.)
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
4 T. unsalted butter
1 T. minced fresh tarragon
1 Roma tomato, cored, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch dice
the juice of 1 lemon (or to taste)
generous grinding of black pepper

1. In a large dutch oven or stockpot, combine wine, shallot, garlic and bay leaf. Simmer together over medium heat for 3-4 min. to bring out the flavors. 

2. Increase heat to high, add the clams. Cover the pot and steam, 5-8 min.,until all the clams open, stirring twice while they cook.

3. Using a slotted spoon, remove the clams to a serving bowl, discarding any unopened clams.

4. Reduce heat to low, add the butter & swirl it around in the liquid to make and emulsified sauce. Stir in tarragon, tomato, lemon juice and black pepper. Ladle the broth over the clams. Serve immediately. Don't forget the bread!