The end of August through the beginning of September is the perfect time to cook something with such seasonal, end-of-summer ingredients as clams, corn, tomatoes and basil. I think of it as a transitional dish since the heartier bacon and mushroom flavors add just a hint of the Fall season soon approaching (and for most of us a hint is all we can handle right before Labor Day!) Pair this dish with a dry Manzanilla Sherry or a crisp, yet fruity white wine such as a Spanish Albarino or even a light, yet earthy Pinot Noir. Bon Appetit!
Serves 6 as an appetizer or 3 as a main course
1/4 pound thick-cut bacon, diced
2 cups sliced button mushrooms
2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 & 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
35 littleneck clams, scrubbed and rinsed off
3 ears corn, shucked, cut into thirds
3/4 cup dry white wine
6 fresh basil leaves, torn roughly
Salt and pepper, optional
1) In a large, heavy-bottomed pot cook the bacon over medium heat, stirring until it begins to render its fat, about 3-5 minutes.
2) Add mushrooms and tomatoes to the pot and cook another 6-8 minutes, stirring often. Add the garlic and paprika and cook for another minute.
3) Increase the heat to high and add the clams, corn and wine, stirring and scraping up and brown bits from the bottom of the pot. After about one minute, lower the heat to low, cover the pot and steam until the clams have all opened and the corn is tender, approximately 8-10 minutes. Discard any unopened clams. Sprinkle basil on top. Check broth for seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed.
4) Serve in bowls with plenty of broth at the bottom and with crusty bread for dipping.