Garlic Steamed Clams with Pancetta

Every year, the Sunday before Christmas, my family gathers to celebrate the holiday together.  Traditionally, in Italian families, Christmas Eve is the "Feast of the Seven Fishes".  My second-favorite day of the year!  First favorite will always be Thanksgiving.  Anywho - the Feast of the Seven Fishes is a glorious night of chowing down on all different kinds of seafood - seven kinds, to be exact.  Usually, my mom prepares baked fish, fried calamari, calamari and peas, smelts, linguini with clams, shrimp cocktail, crab claws, seafood salad, etc.  This year, I brought a few dozen clams to cook off.  I decided to go the traditional route, steaming the clams with some white wine and lemon.  Here's the recipe, so you can make them, too!

What You'll Need:
  • 4 dozen fresh clams, mid-neck
  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 pound pancetta, diced in small cubes
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tbsp. capers with juice
  • 3 lemons, halved
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 3 tbsp. flat-leaf parsley, chopped

1.  Prepare your clams by sprinkling with lots of salt and covering with water.  Let sit for at least one hour - this will draw out the sand and purge the clams.

2.  In a large skillet or pot, heat the olive oil, and saute the garlic and pancetta until golden brown.  Add the white wine and capers and simmer on medium-low heat.  Toss your clams and halved lemons in the pan, and cover.  Steam for about 10 minutes, or until all the clam shells have opened. (Discard any that don't open).

3.  Using a slotted spoon, remove all the clams from the pan and put in a large bowl.  Add the butter to the pan and swirl until incorporated.  This will give your sauce a nice, velvety consistency.  Pour  sauce over the clams, and sprinkle with parsley.  Enjoy!


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