With spring in full effect, I start craving lighter foods like seafood, pasta salads, veggie dips, and sandwiches so I wanted to share a fun clam recipe with you. Typically, clams are served with linguine or in a seafood salad but my favorite way of enjoying them is with some bread. Focaccia to be specific. Let me explain why… the light fluffy interior does the best job sopping up all of the clam juice while the crispy oil fried exterior adds a bit of crunch. The clams are extra garlicky, extra buttery, and extra delicious. I always serve them in the shell so when I finish them off with a healthy amount of lemon and freshly chopped parsley, I can take a quick shot of the clams and chase it down with some rosemary & lemon zested focaccia. It’s the perfect bite to welcome in the springtime!
When it comes to focaccia, everyone has their own favorite toppings. I normally top mine off with store bought passata and freshly grated parmesan cheese for a faux Detroit pizza. It's super easy and a fan favorite but when it comes to having focaccia with clams I like to take a lighter, brighter route. A little freshly grated lemon zest, fresh rosemary, and a healthy pinch of flakey salt will do the trick. Simple yet light and addictive. Recently, I went to trader joes (aka the adult disney land) and picked up a few items I thought would go really well in the focaccia. First up, is a cult favorite: Spanish garlic flavored olive oil. It’s been my favorite for years and since there was already enough garlic in the clams, I thought it would be perfect to even it out with more in the focaccia. Second, was a new item they had: dried black garlic! I love the black color, the contrast in texture, and the depth of flavor it added to the bread. However, if you can't find these or similar items near you, you can just use your favorite brand of olive oil and omit the black garlic or add other toppings you think would go great.
Extra Buttery Extra Garlicky Clams
1 heads of garlic
1 large shallot
3 tablespoons of butter
1 pound of little neck clams, cleaned for any sand*
¼ cup of dry white wine or any wine you like
Salt & pepper, to taste
Handful of freshly chopped parsley
Start by peeling and mincing your garlic & shallot. Next, in a large pan with a high side on medium heat, add in the butter. Once melted, add in the garlic and shallot.
Cook for 1 -2 minutes or until super fragrant. Pour in the white wine and let it come to a bubble. Drop in the clams and cover and cook for 4-5 minutes.
Uncover the pan, shut the flame off, and squeeze over a healthy amount of lemon and freshly chopped parsley. Any clams that did not open should be tossed out!
Serve with some lemon zested sourdough focaccia and enjoy!
Lemon Zested Rosemary Focaccia
350g of bread flour
50g of whole wheat flour
380g of room temp water
3g of instant yeast
7g of fine salt
10g of really good olive oil
1 lemon, zested
1 tablespoon of fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon of black garlic
Flakey salt, if desired
In a bowl combine the flours, water, and yeast until a rough dough forms.
Next, add in the salt and oil. Mix together for about 5 minutes by hand or 2 by mixer. The oil & salt should be completely absorbed and the dough can hold its shape better. The dough will still be shaggy and very wet but that is what we want!
Oil a container or bowl with and dump the dough in. Cover with plastic wrap and set in the refrigerator for 24- 48 hours.
After 24-48 is up, oil an 8x8 inch baking dish and gently dump the dough out into your dish. Spread the dough out as best you can, being careful to not release all the air it has created.
Let it rest at room temperature for 2-3 hours or until doubled in size. About 30 minutes before it's ready to go into the oven, preheat your oven to 475F.
Drizzle over some more olive oil, along with the zest of 1 lemon, freshly picked rosemary, dried black garlic, and flakey salt.
Bake for 22 - 25 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the edges are crispy. Let cool for 5 - 10 minutes before cutting and enjoying!
Notes: If you know you are going to make clams, try to get them one day early so you can let them sit in some water. This will let the clams spit out any salt they might have inside them or on their shell. Within the hour that you are going to make the clams you can drain them out and give them one more quick rinse to make sure they don't have any residual sand on their shell. The last thing you want is to bite into a sandy clam. This focaccia recipe can be made on the same day but I find that letting it rest for 24 - 48 hours really makes a difference in flavor and texture. Plus it totally makes your life easier if you are making this dish for a picnic with friends or a quick and light dinner. All you need to do is bake off the focaccia and cook the clams. Super simple! Lastly, I don't dimple my focaccia as a preference. I don't want to disturb all the gas it has created but if you want to dimple it, dip your hand in salted water or oil before doing so. This will help the dough from sticking to you.