1 dozen mussels
2 dozen little neck clams
Spring garlic, white part sliced thin, green tops chopped for garnish
1/2 pound bulk chorizo sausage
1 healthy pinch of saffron
1 cup dry white white
Good country bread
This is a cleaning method for clams and mussels that I learned from the Terra Restaurant Cookbook. It’s very effective.
As soon as you get home from the market, put the mussels in one bowl and the clams in another. Add a handful of salt to each of the bowls and shake the shellfish to begin the cleaning process. Rinse the clams in cold water then cover them with fresh cold water, adding a healthy amount of salt. Put the clams into the refrigerator for an hour. Rinse the mussels in cold water, removing any barnacles stuck to the shell, but leaving the beard intact. Cover the mussels with a wet dishcloth and put into the refrigerator until ready to cook.
Pour a couple of tablespoons of olive oil into a large heavy saucepan or dutch oven. Add the sliced white parts of the spring garlic and saute over medium heat until soft. Add the chorizo to the pan, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Cook until the choizo is done and starting to caramelize a bit. Add the saffron and stir the pan. Pour in the wine and allow to bubble while you get the mussels and clams ready.
Remove the clams from the fridge and drain and rinse a couple more times under cold water. Discard any clams that are open and don’t close when run under water. Add the clams to the pot and cover. Turn up the heat to high.
Remove the mussels from the fridge and pull the beard away from the shell by gripping it and firmly pulling it back and forth until it gives way. Discard any mussels that are open. Add the mussels to the pot and cover. Cook until all the mussels and clams are open (this should only take a few minutes), discarding any that do not open.
Cut thick slices of the country bread and put into the bottom of a wide bowl. Ladle the mussels, clams, chorizo and broth over the bread. Sprinkle with the chopped green tops of the garlic and serve.