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Submitted by Jaimie Adler

Specialty Recipe

Soup of Garlic, Bread, and Littleneck Clams
with Sweet Marjoram and Toasted Pine Nuts

This is a recipe from Executive Chef Jim Becker at Rauxa, Somerville, Massachusetts.

24 littleneck clams
12 cherry tomatoes, halved
About 4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided use
Salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste
3 Tablespoons pine nuts
1 cup crisp, dry white wine
2 to 3 large cloves garlic, minced (about 1 Tablespoon)
12 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
1 cup fresh sweet marjoram leaves, loosely packed
3 cups light chicken stock (1/2 stock, 1/2 water)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Juice from 1/2 lemon
1 cup minced clams and their liqueur
56 sprigs of flat-leaf parsley (Italian) for garnish

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Rinse the littleneck clams in several rinses of cold water to remove any dirt or grit.

Line a baking sheet pan with parchment paper and place the halved cherry tomatoes on it, cut side up. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper, then drizzle lightly with olive oil. Bake the tomatoes for 20 to 30 minutes until they are soft but still hold their shape. Remove from oven and set aside.

Toast the pine nuts in the oven for about 2 to 3 minutes until golden, watching carefully so that they don't burn. Set aside.

Ten minutes before serving, steam the clams over high heat in a large covered skillet with white wine and minced garlic. Discard any clams which don't open after 5 minutes or so. In a second skillet, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil over medium-high heat and add the slivered garlic. When the oil just begins to sizzle, add the bread crumbs, marjoram, light chicken stock, salt, and lemon juice.

Place 4 roasted tomato halves in each of 6 shallow soup bowls along with 4 stewed clams. To the soup, add the minced clams and their liqueur and immediately remove pan from the heat to avoid overcooking the clams and making them tough. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if needed. Stir gently for 30 seconds until the clams are just heated through, then ladle the soup into each bowl.

Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil, freshly ground black pepper, parsley sprigs, and the toasted pine nuts. Serve immediately.

Makes: 6 servings

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