Clams with Mint, Chiles, and Bacon

I am a fan of clams.  I love how versatile they are and can virtually be cooked in any style and any cuisine.  Today I am making a recipe from The Herbal Kitchen: Cooking with Fragrance and Flavor by Jerry Traunfeld.  What I love about his cookbook is that he has fabulous dishes you can make easily and with no fuss.  For those of you who find cooking somewhat daunting, this would be a good book to add to your collection because it has a lot of pictures that would help a novice cook at home.

I am the kind of person who can never cook a recipe as is because there is always an ingredient I don’t like or want to substitute.  In this case, I opted out of putting in the Szechuan Chiles as I don’t really care for spicy food.

Serving Size:

2 servings as a main course
4 servings in a multi course meal


2 teaspoons olive oil
4 ounces bacon
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
6 thai bird or szechwan chiles, fresh or dried
1/2 cup dry white wine or vermouth
2 pounds live manila clams, washed
1/2 cup coarsely chopped spearmint leaves


Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large saucepan and cook the bacon in it, stirring often, until i renders most of its fat and just begins to crisp.

Scrape it out into a strainer, leaving a film of fat behind.

Add the garlic, chiles, and wine to the saucepan.

When the wine simmers, add the clams and cover the pot tightly.  Cook over medium-high heat until all the clams open up, and then a minute or two past that, 5 to 7 minutes total.

Use a slotted spoon or skimmer to lift the clams into warmed serving bowls.  Boil the liquid left behind for a minute or two, and then stir in the bacon and mint.

Pour the sauce over the warm clams.  Serve right away with crusty bread.

Sounds simple and looks simple right?  But boy was it delicious.  I can definitely make this recipe again and again.  Would love to try it out at a small gathering with my friends one weekend while relaxing by the pool!  Ah…clams make me happy.

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Categories: Recipes


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