Thursday, March 17, 2011

Clam and potato stew

I'm always intrigued by how certain combinations of food become fixed. It's more obvious in Spain, where there is both a more extensive repertoire of traditional dishes and a more conservative approach to cooking (facts which I guess are related).



I was in the market today shopping for fish and, as usual, not quite sure what to buy when I spotted some nice-looking clams at 6 euros a kilo. I usually just cook clams a la marinera, with paprika and sherry, but I wanted something that would turn them into a one-pot meal. At first, I thought about doing them with rice, but then it struck me that they would be good in a potato stew. In Cadiz, the usual thing to combine with potatoes like this is cuttlefish (papas con choco) but it worked very well with the clams and I will definitely be repeating this one. I think I might also try to work out a curried version with coconut milk and turmeric at some point.

Ingredients

1 head of celery
2 cloves of garlic
olive oil
2 teaspoons of smoked paprika
1 teaspoon of cumin
2 kg of potatoes
1/2 kg of green beans
4 ripe tomatoes
1 teaspoon of salt
1 glass of white wine
1 glass of chicken stock (or replace with fish stock or water)
2 bay leaves
1 kg of clams


Method
  1. Clean and chop the celery and garlic, and fry gently in plenty of olive oil.
  2. Peel the potatoes and cut them into large chunks. Cut the green beans into 2-inch segments. Cut the tomatoes into large chunks. Wash the clams thorough in plenty of cold water.
  3. Once the celery begins to soften, add the paprika and cumin and fry for 30 seconds or so before adding the potatoes, beans, tomatoes, wine, stock, bay leaves and salt.
  4. Bring to a boil, turn heat to low, cover and simmer gently until the potatoes are just done.
  5. Add the clams, stir well, cover and continue cooking for a few minutes until all of the clams have opened.

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