Clam Frites

SERVES: 2-4

Make sure you use an extra virgin olive oil you really like the taste of, ‘cause it’s kind of the star of the show here (aside from the obvious french fries). Purchase extra virgin always, and look for something grassy and peppery, which can hold up to the strong briny flavor of clams.

Active Time: 30 Mins

Total Time: 30 mins

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Produce

  • 10 garlic cloves
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1 lemon

Pantry

Frozen

  • 1 pound store bought frozen french fries

Protein

  • 4-5 pounds littleneck clams

1. Clean the clams and cook the fries:

  • Preheat the oven to 450.
  • Place 4-5 pounds of little neck clams in a large bowl set inside your sink. Cover with cold water to submerge, throw in a small handful of salt and let them sit to expel any sand that might be lingering within them while you prep.
  • Cook 1 pound of frozen french fries, according to package instructions, which will say something like, “line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment, toss the fries onto the baking sheet and bake until golden brown and crisp, 18-25 minutes.

2. Do some prep:

  • Meanwhile, firmly smash and peel 10 garlic cloves. Coarsely chop the garlic to break it down a bit further.
  • Coarsely chop 1 bunch cilantro leaves and tender stems. Crack open a bottle of dry white wine and head on over to the stove.

3. Steam the clams:

  • Swirl the clams to help clean them, and then drain them in a colander. Give them one more quick rinse in the colander.
  • Set a large Dutch oven over medium heat and add ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil, swirling to coat the bottom of the pot. Once hot but not smoking, add the sliced garlic. Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the garlic is soft and very fragrant but not yet brown at the edges, 1-3 minutes (depending how hot your oil is).
  • Before it browns, immediately add the cleaned clams and stir well to coat in the garlic oil.
  • Pour in ⅓ cup dry white wine, and then quickly pop on a tight fitting lid. Cook, taking a peak occasionally, plucking out any clams that open and transferring them to a large serving bowl as you go. This whole process could take about 5-10 minutes (or longer!) but as long you’re removing the open ones occasionally, they won’t overcook.
  • Once all the clams have opened and been added to the bowl, remove the pot and broth from the heat. Stir in all the chopped cilantro and squeeze in the juice of half of a lemon. Pour all of the broth over the clams. Drizzle the clams with more fresh olive oil (this may seem unnecessary but fresh olive oil tastes very different from cooked olive oil and is what gives them their very Italian personality.

4. Serve:

  • Transfer half of the cooked french fries from the baking sheet to the bowl of clams, scattering them over and allowing them to sink into the broth. Add the remaining friends to a serving bowl for additional snacking, dunking. Serve more lemon alongside for squeezing.

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