You can almost feel the ocean breeze with this recipe from New England Open House Cookbook (Workman Publishing, June 2015) by Sarah Leah Chase.
Summer Stew with Maine Mahogany Clams, Corn, and Fingerling Potatoes
As much as I love clam and fish chowders, I almost never make or eat them during the summer months unless it is an unusually cold or rainy day. Instead, I prefer to make a lighter sort of deconstructed chowder with less rich and creamy liquid and more vivid vegetable accents. Usually when chouriço or linguiça is called for in a New England recipe it refers to the widely available reddish-orange Portuguese sausages. However, in this instance I opt to use the dried chorizo sausage imported from Spain because I love it and it has become popular enough to find easily. The Palacios brand is the one I usually purchase.
A Maine company by the name of Moosabec Mussels has recently begun distributing really tasty mahogany clams from the Gulf of Maine to supermarkets throughout New England in netted two-pound bags, perfect for this recipe. I use beer to make the stew’s light broth, and I encourage the use of any local ale you happen to like, especially seasonal summer brews that will have a slight lemony flavor profile. Serves 4
2 pounds fresh Maine mahogany or littleneck clams
12 fingerling potatoes
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 ounces Spanish chorizo, cut into ¼-inch dice
1 medium-size onion, peeled and chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
Kernels from 2 ears fresh local corn
8 ounces local lager-style beer
2½ tablespoons minced fresh cilantro, flat-leaf parsley, or slivered basil
1. Rinse the clams under cold running water to dislodge any grit clinging to the shells. Should they be especially gritty, give them a gentle scrubbing with a clean dish brush. Set the clams aside briefly.
2. Place the fingerling potatoes in a small pot and add water to cover. Let come to a boil over medium-high heat and then let the potatoes simmer until tender, 12 to 15 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large, straight-sided skillet over medium heat. Add the chorizo and cook until slightly crisp, about 5 minutes. Add the onion and garlic and cook until the onion is soft and translucent, about 7 minutes. Add the corn and cook until crisp-tender, 3 minutes.
4. Once the fingerling potatoes are tender, drain them, cut them in half lengthwise, and add them to the skillet with the chorizo. Pour in the beer and give everything a stir.
5. Arrange the clams (no need to soak them) evenly over the top of the chorizo mixture, cover the skillet, increase the heat so the beer comes to a gentle boil, and cook the clams until they open, 5 to 6 minutes. Discard any clams that have not opened, then scatter the herb of your choice in and around the clams. Serve the stew at once in shallow bowls.
(* From New England Open-House Cookbook by Sarah Leah Chase-Workman Publishing- June 2015)