What can I say? Life as of lately has been pretty damn good. Winter is long gone here in the Pacific North West, and rainy days are a thing of the past. For now, at least. Spring has sprung, and so has new inspiration. There’s just something about longer days that is perfectly conducive for day dreaming about food (my all time favorite past time). Behold the fruits of my sun-charged, whiskey-soaked imagination: BLT clams.
I freakin’ love tiny-ass manila clams. Sweet and succulent, and just found on sale for $4.00 a pound. Jackpot. Let’s combine these morsels with the beloved flavors of a BLT. ‘Cept let’s use some leeks instead of iceberg, because we’re fancy AF.
2 lbs manila clams
6 strips of bacon
2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup Israeli or peal couscous
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes
So your clams and your leeks have been hiding a dirty dirty secret….. sand! First, let’s get those little manilas (or whichever small clams are available fresh at your local market) into a bowl of cold water. Sprinkle in a handful of flour and give it a swirl. Set aside, and your clams will drink up the flour water and spit out any sand they have been carrying.
Now, for the leeks. Cut in half longways and slice into half-moon strips. Start at the white end and slice your way to green, stopping when you can feel the knife getting a little resistance from the leek. Toss those slivers in their own bowl of cold water, then scoop out and drain on a paper towel.
Get a large pan over some medium heat and slice your bacon into lardons. Toss ‘em in the pan and cook until nice and crispy. Be careful not to cook your bacon on too high a heat, because it will leave little charred bits on the bottom of the pan you were planning on cooking your clams in. Not good. Scoop the bacon out and drain on a paper towel, leaving the grease in the skillet.
Add your Israeli couscous to the hot oil and stir until they get nice and toasty. Don’t get distracted by the bottle of wine taunting you on the counter, because your little couscous will go from golden brown and delicious to burnt in a second. Once they are perfectly tanned, add your drained leeks and a clove of garlic. Season with salt and lots of black pepper, but don’t go too heavy on the salt because of the bacon. You can always add more later. Cook until slightly softened and translucent, then add in your white wine.
Take this time to drain and rinse your clam babies. After your couscous has cooked in the wine for a minute or two, add the clams and cover with a lid. Now slice up some cherry tomatoes and ready your crusty baguette. When the clams have just opened, stir in the bacon and tomatoes. Let’s add a pad of butter. Don’t forget to test your seasonings! If you fucked up and over-salted (even though I warned you about the bacon), squeeze in some lemon and grovel at the feet of your merciful leader.
Enjoy with the rest of that bottle of wine and toast your own awesomeness.