Champagne at the Table: Littleneck Clams

Welcome to Champagne at the Table, where we bring you monthly seasonal fair to pair with your fatcork bubbles. Whether you're sipping alongside a spicy curry or snacking on some coveted caviar, there's always a place for Champagne at the Table.

Vadin-Plateau Terre de Moines

This cuvée flaunts a regal robe of jeweltone-yellow in the bottle and pours like liquid gold. That sublime color is from time spent in oak barrels. You'll recognize rich aromas of baking spice, orange rind, vanilla and almonds without overpowering the floral scent of orange blossom.

On the palate you can’t help but notice the beautiful balance of this highly structured wine, and silky mouthfeel. Fruit forward yet dry. Notes of marzipan, citrus zest and buttered toast give way to the flavors of the forest; damp earth and moss. A finish that lingers and lingers. Mmm.

Littleneck clams with new potatoes

No doubt about it—fresh seafood and Champagne are flavor friends. Yann Vadin’s Nature made of 100% pinot meunier fruit, from the Marne Valley, is exactly what you want to be pairing with your bivalves. 

In the ideal situation, you’re around a table with your honey, best friend, or heck—your parents—munching, sipping, and basking in the sun. If we had it our way, you’d have a napkin tucked in the collar of your shirt and a bottle of this beauty resting on ice nearby.  

Between long-winded stories, we suggest frequent pauses for perfectly steamed clams and dunking of crusty hunks of bread in this sexy, herby broth. Then, the next move is to spoon a delicate potato, and rich n’ smoky morsel of Spanish sausage. Lastly, wash it all down with an aromatic, fresh, crisp, sip of the pinot meunier. Hello, heaven!

That cold sip eases your palate from the heat of the sausage. The plump and meaty chew and salinity of the clams and the rich flavors broth are complemented by the creamy body of the bubbles. Then comes the acidity and hint of orange in the finish that refreshes your taste buds and makes you salivate for another bite. 

So, go on and treat yourself to this amazing pairing. You deserve it.

Ingredients

SERVES 6

3 tablespoons olive oil

4 ounces smoked Spanish chorizo, cut into 1/4-inch pieces

1/2 pounds small new potatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick

1 bunch spring onions or scallions, whites halved and sliced; greens sliced on a diagonal, divided

4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 cup dry white wine (such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Gris)

5 pounds littleneck clams, scrubbed

Toasted bread (we suggest something good and crusty on the outside and soft on the inside)

Preparation

Step 1

Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add chorizo and cook, stirring often, until some fat has rendered and chorizo begins to crisp, about 4 minutes.

Step 2

Add potatoes, spring onion whites, and garlic. Cook, tossing often, until potatoes are crisp-tender, 10-12 minutes. Add wine and cook until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add 2 1/2 cups water and continue to cook until potatoes are just tender, 5-8 minutes longer.

Step 3

Add clams and half of onion greens, cover pot, and cook, stirring occasionally, until clams have opened, 8-10 minutes (discard any clams that do not open).

Step 4

Divide clam mixture among bowls. Top with remaining onion greens and serve with toast.

Recipe via Bon Appétit

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