Sometimes on special occasions it's nice to have an unusual or special appetizer for people to nosh on. Seafood is a popular choice at my house and is really quick for those short on time. There's few ingredients to this and you can serve little bowls of them with a bit of the juices ladled over top, along with thick slices of bread to sop up the juice. Make sure to get your clams from a fish market where they are kept live over ice, not wrapped in in styrofoam trays. The better seafood you get, the better it will taste!
2 lbs of mixed clams and mussels, washed and cleaned (they can be a bit gritty)
3 tbsp butter
1 shallot, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 thai chile, seeded and minced (optional)
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 tbsp minced Italian parsley
cracked black pepper
In a large, deep pan, melt the butter over medium low heat and saute the shallot and chile until softened. Add the garlic and continue to stir, cooking, until fragrant; about 2 minutes. Don't let the garlic brown. Add the wine and bring to a boil, stirring up any bits off the bottom. Turn the heat down to medium low so that the mixture is simmering, then pour in the clams and mussels. Cover the pan with a lid and let them steam for about 5-7 minutes, stirring and checking every now and then. You'll know that they are cooked when the shells have opened.
Discard any unopened shells (there's always a few), and don't worry about the ones that are opened only a bit. You can still eat those. Sprinkle the parsley and pepper over top and serve. Divide the mixture among four bowls, ladling the juices over top for people to soak up with bread. Serve with the lemon wedges alongside.
Makes 2 dinner servings, or 4 appetizers