Saffron-flavored Clams and Potatoes
Patatas con Almejas
A saffron-hued broth redolent with garlic and parsley, filled with clams, bright roasted peppers and potatoes - this dish pushes all the right buttons. Spooned into small cazuelas or bowls, this makes a stewy tapa typical of Andalusia. A big bowlful is a fantastic first course or a light main dish. Double the recipe and you have a crowd-pleasing party dish. You'll be making it often.
• 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 2 large garlic cloves, minced, plus 5 small whole garlic cloves
• 1/2 large white onion, finely chopped
• 1 Italian (frying) pepper, cored, seeded and diced
• 2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
• 1 large, ripe tomato, cut in half and grated on a box grater, skin discarded
• 11/2 cups bottled clam juice
• 1 large pinch of saffron, pulverized in a mortar and steeped in 3 tablespoons very hot water
• 2 medium-size roasted red bell peppers chopped
• Coarse salt (kosher or sea) and freshly ground black pepper
• 1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
• 1/3 cup dry white wine
• 2 pounds small Manila clams, scrubbed well
1. Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and the minced garlic in a heavy 4- to 5-quart pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until it begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the Italian pepper, reduce the heat to low, and cook until the pepper softens, about 5 minutes. Add the potatoes and cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the tomato and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the juices thicken slightly, 5 minutes. Add the clam juice and enough water to cover the potatoes by 1/2 inch and bring to a boil, skimming. Stir in the saffron, the roasted peppers and salt and black pepper to taste. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer until the potatoes are very soft but not quite falling apart, about 20 minutes. Stir and lightly skim the mixture occasionally, adding a few tablespoons of water if necessary to maintain the level of liquid in the pot.
2. While the potatoes are cooking, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the 5 whole garlic cloves and cook until the garlic is golden and crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the garlic to a mini food processor and add the parsley. Pulse until finely chopped, but not pureed.
3. Place the wine in a wide pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add 2 teaspoons of the parsley mixture and the clams. Cover the pot and let the clams steam until they open, 4 to 7 minutes. Discard any unopened clams.
4. Stir the remaining parsley mixture into the potato mixture. Gently stir in the clams and their liquid, taking care not to crush the potatoes. Cook over medium heat until the flavors meld, 1 to 2 minutes. Spoon the stew into bowls and serve at once. Serves 8 as a tapa, 4 as a main course.
Source: Recipes © 2005 from The New Spanish Table by Anya von Bremzen. Featuring over 300 unique recipes, The New Spanish Table protrays the food and culture of Spain at its most vibrant. The perfect pairing for delicious Spanish wines! (Workman Publishing Co. Inc.)