yields four servings
4 pounds live butter clams (or other hardshell clams, like littlenecks), washed
1 cup water
1 tablespoon sweet butter
4 garlic cloves, peeled, julienned
A 2-inch piece of ginger, peeled, julienned, cut into 1” lengths
1 small bunch cilantro, leaves only
10 shallots, peeled, julienned
4 slices of bacon, finely minced
2 cups safflower oil for frying
Steam the clams with the water and butter in a covered pan for 3 minutes. Turn off the heat and keep covered. On a medium flame fry the garlic, ginger, cilantro, shallots, and bacon separately in the safflower oil. They will lightly brown in seconds so stand ready with a slotted spoon. The ginger takes the longest, but that means 10 seconds. The bacon is done in literally a blink of an eye. When the cilantro leaves turn dark green; it's done. Drain each on a paper towel.
Save the clam nectar to use later. Discard one shell from each clam. On a single platter or individual plates, place the clams on their half shells. Drizzle with olive oil. Scatter the fried garlic, ginger, cilantro, shallots and bacon over the clams. Serve warm and eat by hand.
bacon recipe source: David Latt, The New York Times / Cooking (@nytfood)