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Thursday, May 1, 2014

A Taste Of Spring - Clams + Grilled Scallions & Sungold Tomatoes

Spring's been here awhile now but only just recently has the weather gotten the memo. This week marked the first time in the longest that I could venture out without a jacket, and I can't tell you how happy that makes me. Besides that, the bounty of beautiful produce is yet another thing that makes me beam about the season. 
Spring Produce, Photo: NK 

So what should we make to celebrate these warmer days? How about a delightfully easy appetizer using two of my favorite things - Clams (check my other favorite clam recipes here and here) and super sweet and delicious Sungold Tomatoes. We've paid homage to these these orangey beauties before. 

Because Sungolds aren't quite at peak ripeness yet (they're best in mid summer) we'll tease out their natural sugar by blistering them in a very hot pan. To add some interest to this dish, we'll toss in  scallions that have been lightly charred to bring in a smokey element. Adding a splash of light beer to encourage an even tastier clam broth pulls this easy appetizer together - and as you'd expect from us, it's all done in under 20 minutes. As an entree, we opted to round things out with a simple entree of grilled Arctic Char, which was the perfect accompaniment. 

Gorgeous Arctic Char, Photo: NK 

Beer Steamed Clams With Grilled Scallions & Sungold Tomatoes
Serves 2 as a hearty appetizer

Grilled Scallions, Photo: NK

Ingredients:
About 16 Small Littleneck Clams, well scrubbed
About 6 whole Scallions
About 12 Sungold Tomatoes or other ripe Cherry Tomatoes
2 large cloves Garlic, crushed
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil plus more for brushing the Scallions
1/2 Cup Wheat Beer or other light Beer 
Salt
Pepper
Chopped Chives for serving, optional
Crusty Bread for serving, optional 

Method:
1. Brush Scallions with Olive Oil and lay on a preheated grill or grill pan for a few minutes on each side until Scallions soften and char marks form. Remove Scallions to a cutting board and sprinkle with a bit of Salt and Pepper. Once they cool, slice them into 1-inch pieces. 

2. In a medium skillet, warm a Tablespoon of Olive Oil over medium heat, add the Garlic, and sauté for a minute or two until Garlic takes on some color. Lower the flame to medium low and add the Sungold Tomatoes. Cook until they soften and the skins blister, about 5 minutes, tossing occasionally. Sprinkle lightly with Salt. Turn off the flame and add Scallions to the skillet. Toss. 

3. Meanwhile, place beer in a deep pot and bring it to a bubble over medium heat. Add Clams and cover the pot. Allow them to steam for 4 minutes before checking on them. Watch as Clams open one by one and remove them right away with tongs to the serving dish. Give them a stir now and then. They should all open by about 8 minutes or so. Discard any that do not open. 

4. To serve, plate Clams and pour broth over them. Add the Scallion and Sungold mixture on top, and sprinkle with additional Black Pepper. Garnish with a few chopped raw Chives if you like. Serve with crusty bread to soak up the broth. 

Let's eat! 
Clams Steamed in Beer with Grilled Scallions & Sungold Tomatoes, Photo: NK 

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