Forget the explosive clam or two for a moment; and assume you have a sterling source of these delicious shellfish. This is one of my favorite ways to enjoy them and it is so incredibly easy to make. The clams I used in this particular recipe had a funny moss on them, so instead of the usual throw it all into one pot method for this dish, I steamed the clams separately, then spooned the sauce onto each clam and stuck them in a hot oven for several minutes to finish them off. But I will write this recipe as you would NORMALLY make the dish. First scrub clean about 2 kilos of clams (good for 4, hearty servings), and soak them in clean water in your fridge until about ready to use, at which point you can drain the clams and set aside.
For the sauce, saute lots of bacon or pancetta (or even spicy Italian sausage removed from its casings) together with some chopped onions and chopped garlic and some added olive oil. Add chopped Italian canned plum tomatoes and season LIBERALLY with salt and pepper. You may need a little more salt than you would normally put in a spaghetti sauce. Add as much dried chilli flakes as you like (I like this SPICY). Then add whatever fresh or dried herbs you fancy such as italian parsley, basil, etc. and cook this over medium high heat until just done, say 12 or so minutes, at which point you can toss in the clams, cover the pot and shake it a little every so often. Stir the clams and sauce together and scoop into bowls to serve. Make sure you make almost TOO MUCH sauce, since it is perfect to scoop up with bread, or actually, mix into one’s rice! Grill some nice country bread and brush it with olive oil and garlic and you have a PERFECT appetizer or even a meal, served with a hearty side salad. For some reason, pork and shellfish are a match made in heaven. Let’s just hope you don’t get that single bad clam that will make your late evening hell… heehee.