Monday, July 30, 2012

Attention Wine Lovers! Portugese Steamed Clams

Tom and I are officially on a wine tasting DIET.  We are not allowed to go the wine country at all until we get back from Seattle in a few weeks.  I hate to confess how much wine tasting we have done in the past few weeks... 

We spent the 4th of July in Healdsburg, Calfornia.  It's a tiny California town with a  historical town square, surrounded by towering trees,  fabulous restaurants, wine tasting salons and unique art boutiques. The lush Alexander Valley borders on one side, and Dry Creek Valley stretches out on the other.  Has to be one of my favorite 4th of July memories - we even watched the fireworks at the local high school!

Our friends, Joel and Tracy came down for a few days,  and we had the best time exploring new (for us) wineries in the Dry Creek Valley. Wonderful (experienced) tour guides, Joel and Tracy  took us to all kinds of new tasting rooms and vineyards that we had never been to before.  Honestly, you could spend an entire year in the California Wine Country and never see or taste even a fraction of what is there to enjoy.

It was a gorgeous summer day, temperature hovering in the 80's, the vineyards were simply beautiful in the sunlight with their bright green leaves, vines dripping with baby green grapes.  We drove over through the valley with windows down, sunshine streaming in the sunroof while Fleetwood Mac played in the background.  

(do you get the idea that we had a good time? maybe too good??)

One of the loveliest wineries that we visited towards the end of the day was Passalacqua, on the Lambert Bridge Road.  Wide open views over the valley, and such luscious sculpted grounds with old-world fountains and blooming day lilies.

After sampling their new 2011 Sauvignon Blanc to our hearts content,  I spotted the "Wine Lover" cookbook - and knew that it had to go home with me!   It is packed with 211 pages of recipes, all containing the "Essential Ingredient" - wine.

Now which recipe to choose first?

I could not resist their spicy Portugese version of steamed clams!  We changed up a few of the ingredients, to make it ours and it turned out mouth-watering incredible. 

12 oz. chorizo sausage
1/4 cup olive oil
2 red onions, thinly sliced
1 Tablespoon sweet Hungarian paprika
1/2 t. red pepper flakes (or to your taste)
2 cups dry white wine - use good wine
3/4 fish or chicken stock (we used chicken)
3 cups canned tomatoes with juice 
3 oz. prosciutto, juliened
1/2 cup minced parsley (I like Italian parsley)
2 bay leaves
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
35-45 tiny Manila Clams
1 1/5 lbs prawns deveined, shells removed - I keep the tails on

Cut the sausage into 1 chunks.  In a large stockpot, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onions and saute' for 10 minutes, or until very soft.  Add the garlic, paprika and red pepper flakes and cook for 5 more minutes.  Stir in the wine, stock and tomatoes, prosciutto, the parsley, the bay leaves and the sausage.  Simmer until thickened.  Season with salt and pepper.

Bring the mixture to a low boil.  Add the clams and the prawns, cover the pan. Steam until the clams open and the prawns are a pretty pink, should be 7-10 minutes.  Discard any clams that do not open.

Serve with really good, fresh bread. We like to make crunchy "toasties" under the broiler  - a little butter, garlic and grated Parmesan (or whatever cheese we have in the frig!) - super easy, and looks impressive.  Perfect for dipping into your spicy seafood broth.

Must have?  A great white wine to go with!  We stumbled uponSeghesio in Healdsburg, and fell in love with their 2011 Arneis.   Have never had anything quite like it.  Perfect combination with our spicy Portuguese Clams and Prawns!

Oh... couldn't help it, we joined the Seghesio wine club, now we have an excuse to go back.  Darn.

*originally published on The Coastal Gourmet Blog

Glasses:  Our Stemless School of Fish Red Wine Tumblers - Set of 4 $44.95

Dinnerware: Beachcomber Collection - love these for their colors and shapes!  Bowls - set of 4 $56.95

No comments:

Relax and Live at the Beach Every Day of the Year!

Most Popular Beach Posts!