Lazy summer Sundays revolve around food. That’s just a cardinal rule, (don’t ever break it). Where should we go for brunch? What should we make for dinner? A walk to the ice cream shop for dessert? At the risk of sounding too “foodie-philosophical,” it’s always about the next meal for me. Summer Sundays just epitomize that ideal. Noshing my way through Sunday = my way to kick off the week.
Seafood is my favorite way to keep it light without sacrificing flavor. Keeping that in mind, I’m going with shellfish … oysters, clams, mussels, scallops, shrimp, lobster, crabs … I love it all. Based on what was fresh at my local market, I used clams for this dish. Any shellfish/combination of shellfish will work wonderfully.
My favorite way to cook shellfish is in a flavorful broth. A mouthwatering concoction of beer, shrimp shells (you read that correctly, this bad boy has shrimp infused broth!), lemon, shallot, butter, tomatoes, and fresh herbs. I mean, half the fun of steaming shellfish is dunking copious amounts of toasted bread into that liquid gold broth. Don’t forget the toasted bread!
My ideal Sunday afternoon nosh is set. Time to start collecting empty shells. Time to dip bread. Time to start thinking about “the next meal.”
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 shallots, finely chopped
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- Pinch of red pepper flakes, more if you want it spicy
- 1 cup wheat beer (I used 6410 Citra Wheat from Horse Thief Hollow Brewery)
- 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
- 6 large deveined shell on shrimp, approx 1/2 lb (Ask your butcher for them this way. If you have to devein your own shrimp, follow these steps.)
- 2 large tomatoes, seeds discarded and chopped (I prefer vine ripened tomatoes)
- 2 dozen wild caught littleneck clams (see note about clams below)
- Juice from 1/2 a lemon, approx 2 tbsp
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
- Toasted sourdough bread for serving
Heat butter in a medium size stockpot, over medium heat, until butter is melted. Add shallots and cook for 3 minutes until translucent. Add garlic and cook an additional minute until fragrant. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes, a pinch of salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Stir and cook for one additional minute.
Add beer and broth and bring to a low boil. You may need to adjust the cooking temp to medium low to keep a low boil. Add shrimp, cover the pot, and cook for 2 minutes or until just cooked through. Using tongs, remove shrimp from the broth. Once cool enough to handle, remove the shells from the shrimp and add them back to the stockpot. Reserve cooked shrimp. Cover pot, and allow shrimp shells to cook for an additional 8-10 minutes in the broth. Remove shells from the broth and discard. (Shrimp stock, YUM!)
Note: When you are removing the shells from the shrimp, keep broth covered over low heat to maintain a simmer (low boil).
Add tomatoes and clams. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, or until the clams have opened. Check on the clams at 7 minutes to see if any have started to open. If any clams do not open, discard them.
Add lemon juice, parsley, and reserved shrimp. Cook for an additional minute to allow shrimp to heat through. Serve with toasted sourdough bread and a cold beer. Bread dunking in the broth is obviously mandatory.
Note about clams: It’s best to purchase clams just before cooking. If you purchase them several hours in advance, they should be kept on ice in the refrigerator. Clams are purchased alive and must be kept alive. So, don’t wrap them in anything airtight. They need oxygen to survive. Just before cooking, scrub them with a stiff brush under cool running water. If any clams are open, tap the shell. If they don’t close tightly, discard them.
Thank you Americas Best Racing, Horse Thief Hollow Brewery, and Koval Distillery for a wonderful night of excellent food, drink, and company. This post was inspired by the delicious beer at Horse Thief Hollow Brewery. I used their 6410 Citra Wheat beer. It’s citrus flavor & hoppy finish gave this dish a wonderful depth of flavor. If you live in the Chicago area, check out Horse Thief Hollow Brewery. You won’t be disappointed.