Pan-Roasted Clams with Bourbon, Bacon and Jalapeno

Pan-roasted clams with bourbon, bacon and jalapeno

Two of my favorite websites for recipe perusal are Food52 and Food & Wine Magazine. I scroll through and save the recipe I want to make to one of my Pinterest pages. And of course, you know that Pinterest saves a picture of that recipe along with its title, origin, and if it’s been liked or repinned.

making pan-roasted clams

And every now and then, thankfully it’s infrequent, but every now and then you’ll pin a recipe and for whatever reason the picture you specified does not appear on your Pinterest page. Instead, it’ll be this little box with the title and origin of the recipe and then a blank box where the pretty, appetizing picture should go.

clams with bourbon, bacon and jalapeno

I suppose it displays my anal-retentiveness for all to see, but I must confess that I really hate it when this happens! It bugs me. I go to look at my Pinterest page and see all these pretty, scrumptious looking food photographs, and then there’s this ugly blank. It just messes up my page.

This was one such recipe. I pinned it from Food & Wine, and no picture appeared. I figured, the best way to fix this problem was to make the recipe, so then I can substitute my own pic. And why yes, I am quite the Type A personality with plenty of neuroses to go around, thank you for asking! 🙂

Pan-Roasted Clams with Bourbon, Bacon and Jalapeno

But, that’s honestly why I made this recipe last week. Well, that and because it looked great. Fortunately, the recipe was fantastic, so maybe there’s a benefit to me being so weirdly obsessive?

clams with bourbon, bacon and jalapeno

I warn you, it’s hot and spicy. The jalapenos are not kidding around! I adapted this recipe a bit; the original said to add the sliced (and thus, still seeded) chiles at the end, but that would essentially mean eating a bunch of raw jalapenos. And those have their place, I’m not saying otherwise. But if you’re not careful, they can really blow out your palate on the first bite and I didn’t want that. So I added them earlier to make sure they were cooked (read: tamer in heat level), and I think it made the dish more cohesive. The heat, though – definitely still there!

Pan-Roasted Clams with Bourbon Bacon and Jalapeno

Source: adapted from Food & Wine

24 littleneck clams, scrubbed
3 oz. bacon, cut into 1/2-inch dice (1/2 cup)
1/4 cup very finely chopped shallots
2 jalapeños, thinly sliced into rounds
2 tablespoons very finely chopped garlic
1/4 cup bourbon
1/4 cup bottled clam broth
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon very finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Crusty bread, for serving

First, prep the clams. Immediately upon coming home from the store, place the clams in a large mixing bowl. Fill with cold water and sprinkle with a spoonful of cornmeal. Place in the refrigerator for at least one hour, longer if possible. When ready to cook, pour the contents of the bowl into a large colander or strainer and run under cold water to get rid of any cornmeal or other dirt lingering on the shells. The water-cornmeal treatment is to rid the clams of any grit and sand. They “eat” the cornmeal and this purges the grit within the shells.
Now you are ready to cook. Preheat a large skillet with a tight-fitting lid over medium heat. Add the bacon bits and cook until the fat has rendered and they are crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate. Set aside.
To the skillet, add the shallot and jalapeno. Sauté for a few minutes, until softened. Add the garlic and cook 1 more minute. Now add the drained clams and bourbon. Simmer over medium-low heat until the bourbon evaporates.
Add the clam juice. Raise the heat to medium and cover the skillet. Cook until the clams have opened, about 5 to 7 minutes. I always keep a close watch on this process. I keep tongs and a clean bowl nearby and retrieve the clams as they open. I’ve found that they don’t all open at the same time, and some can overcook if you leave them in. This isn’t the pain that it sounds like, honest.
When the clams have all opened, transfer them to a clean bowl. If any do not open, then discard them – they’re not safe to eat.
To the skillet add the cream, parsley and crisped bacon. Cook to thicken slightly, about 2 minutes. Turn the heat down to medium-low, then swirl in the butter and let it melt. Add the clams back into the skillet and shut off the heat. Toss to coat, then serve with crusty bread for mopping up sauce.

7 responses to “Pan-Roasted Clams with Bourbon, Bacon and Jalapeno

  1. wow! where’d you get such plump clams?! I wish hubby would eat seafood–I’d love to try this dish!

    • Texan New Yorker

      Thanks! The clams are from my local grocery store (which is awesome) and I *think* the clams are local but I’m not 100% sure. You could easily just cut the recipe by half or two-thirds, wait till your hubby is out of town, and treat yourself. 🙂

  2. Want clams. Now.
    Apparently I know what I’ll be eating when I ditch the midwest and head to the East coast for a few days.
    Thanks, Julie, for tantalizing me while making your Pinterest page all nice and pretty again!

    • Texan New Yorker

      Where on the East coast? Well, wherever, definitely get some clams, they are so delicious right now!

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