What timing the day I finished testing chef Quim Marqués’s exquisite recipe for razor clams with truffle oil (see page 222), Quim himself arrived in New York from Barcelona for a guest stint at Solera restaurant. On his menu was a dish of clams “poached” in olive oil together with pine nuts and bits of serrano ham. Once again, I was wowed: three simple flavors, each with its own elusively sweet aftertaste, combined in a dish that lingered for days in my memory. When I tried making it for a dinner party, knockout was the word that came out of everyone’s mouth. And the dish is ridiculously easy, to boot. For best results use a
lovely olive oil and good pine nuts, preferably imported from the Mediterranean, not from China. You’ll want plenty of bread to mop up the sauce. Any leftover sauce is delicious tossed with pasta.
- Yield: 4 as a first course
- 1¼ cups fragrant extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 small garlic cloves, sliced
- 0.66 cup pine nuts
- 1 piece (3 ounces) serrano ham or prosciutto, finely diced
- 2 pounds small clams, such as Manilas or little necks, or cockles, scrubbed
- 3 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley Crusty bread, for serving
- Heat the olive oil and garlic in a wide earthenware cazuela, a very large, heavy skillet, or a wide casserole over medium heat. Add the pine nuts and ham and cook, stirring, until the nuts just begin to color, about 2 minutes.
- Add the clams, cover the cazuela, and cook until the clams open, 4 to 7 minutes depending on their size, shaking the pan occasionally. Discard any clams that don’t open.
- Serve the clams directly from the cazuela or spoon them into bowls, adding plenty of the cooking liquid to each bowl. Sprinkle the parsley on top and serve with plenty of bread.