Clam and Chorizo Stew With Grilled Bread
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing on the bread
4 ounces Spanish chorizo (cured, not fresh), halved lengthwise and sliced into thin half moons
1 cup finely chopped onion (from 1 medium onion)
2 cups finely chopped fresh fennel (from 2 medium bulbs)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 cups crushed tomatoes, preferably fire-roasted
¾ cup dry white wine
3 dozen small clams, scrubbed well (see note)
12 slices rustic country bread
1 cup coarsely chopped cilantro, for garnish (may substitute parsley or basil)
Heat the 2 tablespoons of oil in a Dutch oven or stockpot over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers, reduce the heat to medium-low, add the chorizo and cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes or until the chorizo has turned a shade darker. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the pieces to a bowl.
Stir the onion and fennel into the pot, coating it with the chorizo-flavored oil. Increase the heat to medium; cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened, then add the garlic and crushed red pepper flakes. Cook for 1 minute, stirring, then add the crushed tomatoes and wine. Return the chorizo to the pot. Increase the heat to medium-high; once the mixture begins to bubble at the edges, reduce the heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Increase the heat to high; add the clams, cover tightly and cook, removing the clams as they open to a large bowl. Let the clams cool until they can be handled.
While the clams are steaming, brush both sides of the bread with oil. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium, and, working in batches, add the bread. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes total, until light grill marks have formed on both sides. Put a pair of grilled slices in each individual serving bowl.
Discard the shells from the cooled clams and add the clams to the pot as you go, along with any juices from the shells. Cook just long enough for the clams to warm through.
Ladle clams and tomato broth over each portion of bread. Sprinkle liberally with cilantro and serve right away. Serve with a side dish of roasted cauliflower, roasted red pepper and walnuts.
Note: The best clams for this recipe are the small kind, such as cherrystones or even littlenecks. If all you can find are the big ones, simply cut them after they are cooked. Prepare the clams by scrubbing them in bowls of cold water until there's no sand in the bottom of the bowl afterward. You don't want sand in your stew.
Nutritional analysis | Per serving: 380 calories, 19 g protein, 40 g carbohydrates, 13 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 35 mg cholesterol, 1220 mg sodium, 4 g dietary fiber, 6 g sugar