Though I eat seafood year-round, something about the summer season screams, Eat more seafood! Maybe it’s all the new seasonal visitors swimming offshore, like striped bass, yellowfin tuna, and bluefish. Or maybe it’s because seasonal restaurants that sell traditional New England seafood like lobster rolls, fried clams, mussels, and fish and chips are open Islandwide. It’s all hard to resist.
Here on the East Coast, you’ll hear about three types of hardshell clams: quahogs, which are large and generally chopped up for quahog chowder; cherrystones, a medium-size version, are great baked for clams casino or chopped up for a white clam sauce pasta. My favorite has always been the delicate littleneck clams, raw or steamed as an appetizer or a main dish.
Steamed clams are not complicated, and can be thrown together with ingredients you may already have in your pantry. For this recipe, the rosemary and Castelvetrano olives add a punch of flavor, and the fingerling potatoes make this more of a meal.
⅓ cup olive oil 1 large leek, washed, halved, and sliced 1 large shallot, peeled and sliced 3-4 cloves of fresh garlic, chopped ½ cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped 2 Tbsp. fresh rosemary, chopped ½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes ½ cup pitted and roughly chopped Castelvetrano olives 40 littleneck clams, scrubbed clean ½ cup white wine 4 cups whole fingerling potatoes, boiled in salted water for about 10 minutes, (Do not overcook, you want them firm enough to slice in half.) Drain and let cool enough to slice in half.
Heat olive oil on medium-high in a large heavy pot. Stir in leeks, shallots, garlic, fresh herbs, and red pepper flakes. Stir constantly, do not brown, cook for a few minutes, add olives and clams, and combine as much as possible. Add white wine and cooked potatoes, gently try to get potatoes and clams combined, then cover. Cover and steam until clams are open. Discard any unopened clams. As a meal, serve with great bread and a salad.