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Manhattan Style Clams
Manhattan clam chowder is best understood as everything the New England clam chowder is ot—cream-free and loud with garlic, pepper flakes, tomatoes, greenpeppers, carrots, and celery, flavors influenced by Italian immigrants to the Brooklyn and Jersey shores.
4 ounces (115 grams) thick-cut or slab bacon, diced
1/2 large (yellow or Spanish) onion, diced
1/2 large green bell pepper, diced
2 medium celery stalks, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
One 28-ounce/794-gram can whole peeled tomatoes in juice
1 cup (235 ml) chicken or seafood stock
Red pepper flakes, to taste
1/2 cup (90 grams) dried fregola
24 (about 2 pounds or 1 kilogram) littleneck clams, rinsed
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Scatter the bacon in the bottom of a medium-sized Dutch oven or a deep 4-quart sauté pan, and set over medium heat. Let the bacon warm and sizzle in place; then, when it begins to brown, stir it around, continuing until it is browned and the fat has rendered out, about 5 minutes. If there is extra, discard all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon drippings and add the onion, bell pepper, and celery. Cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes.
Add the garlic, and cook for 1 more minute; then stir in the oregano, tomatoes (with juices), and broth, scraping up any stuck bits, and bring to a simmer. Season with salt and red pepper flakes.
Stir in the fregola, and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Stop here if you are prepping the soup ahead of time. If serving immediately, stir in the clams and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until the clams open wide, 8 to 10 minutes. (Discard any clams that have not opened after 10 minutes.) Season with salt and black pepper, and add the parsley.
Excerpted from “Smitten Kitchen Every Day” by Deb Perelman. Text and photographs copyright © 2017 Deb Perelman. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.