Wellfleet littlenecks on the half shell with chorizo and spinach

Wellfleet littlenecks are always a delicacy. The clams that Gourmet magazine calls the "most prized littlenecks in all of New England" are plump, briny, and full of flavor. Jazzed up with an exotic chorizo and spinach topping, they enter the realm of the ethereal.

The choice between various embutidos, as the Spaniards refer to their array of sweet paprika and pork sausages, is an important one—too spicy and the broth will overpower the clams; too mild and the dish will lose its kick. A soft chorizo with a high proportion of fat, a hint of garlic, and a deep red color (indicating a good amount of pimentón, or smoked paprika) will yield the best results.

Spinach can be substituted with beet greens or endives, and for an exercise in true Spanish decadency, finely chopped olives can be sprinkled on top as a last minute addition.

All said and done, so long as you know how to wield a clam knife, this appetizer shouldn't take more than 20 minutes to prepare.

Serves 4

Preheat oven to 350.

Shuck 18 Littlenecks and arrange on the half shell in a 13 by 9 Pyrex baking dish.

Cut 8 ounces of chorizo (removing plastic casing if necessary) into large pieces and sauté over high heat for several minutes, until the fat begins to separate from the pork.

Add two tablespoons of butter; continue cooking on high until the pork fat and butter form a rich broth.

Add one cup chopped spinach; wilt and remove from heat.

Top Littlenecks liberally with chorizo, spinach, and broth, allowing extra liquid to spill over into pan. Cook 3-5 minutes to combine flavors. Serve hot on a flat platter with a shallow lip.


Alexandra Grabbe said...

Hi. I just discovered your blog and wish I had the leisure to read more! I run a green bed & breakfast in Wellfleet and write a blog about being a green innkeeper and living on Cape Cod. Your photos are scrumptious! Thanks for all the information you have collected here. I look forward to trying some of the recipes.

Elspeth Pierson said...

Hi Alexandra:

I'm glad you found it. I read your blog as well from time to time and really enjoy it. Happy fourth!



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