Clam and Chorizo Stew with Pickled Shrimp Relish
Chef Jason French, who shared this recipe with us, says, “This dish epitomizes all I love about summer eating: It’s simple, with big flavors and lots of vegetables and herbs—and it’s fun and kind of messy to eat. It goes great with crisp whites, light roses, chilled light reds and beer. This can be cooked on a stove top, grill or hibachi or in a fire pit.” (At his Portland restaurant Ned Ludd, much of the locally sourced food is cooked in a wood-fired oven.) The pickled shrimp for the relish needs to be prepared in advance—1 to 3 days is ideal—but once the pickled shrimp is ready, everything else comes together quickly. For a simpler dish, you could omit the relish—it will still be delicious. According to French, this dish is “best served with crusty bread warmed over the fire and a generous amount of refreshments.”
- For the pickled shrimp relish:
- 2 Tbs. fennel seeds
- 1 tsp. yellow mustard seeds
- 1 tsp. brown mustard seeds
- 1/2 tsp. black peppercorns
- 1/2 tsp. whole cloves
- 2 Tbs. paprika
- 1 lb. (500 g) jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
- Kosher salt
- 2 cups (16 fl. oz./500 ml) rice vinegar
- 1 cup (8 oz./250 g) sugar
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 shallot, minced
- 2 Tbs. Champagne vinegar
- 1 fennel bulb
- 2 Tbs. chopped fresh tarragon
For the stew:
- 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) olive oil
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced
- Kosher salt
- 1 lb. (500 g) fresh chorizo sausage, casings removed and sausage crumbled
- 3 small zucchini, cut into rounds about 1/4 inch (6 mm) thick
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
- 1 green bell pepper, seeded and sliced
- 1 jalapeño chile, thinly sliced
- 1 Tbs. coarsely chopped fresh oregano
- 1 Tbs. coarsely chopped fresh thyme
- 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) beer or dry red or white wine
- 2 lb. (1 kg) clams, rinsed, soaked in cold water and drained
- 1 large heirloom tomato, halved, seeded and chopped
- 1 cup fresh (1 oz./30 g) flat-leaf parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
To make the pickled shrimp, in a small fry pan over medium heat, combine fennel seeds, yellow and brown mustard seeds, peppercorns and cloves. Toast, tossing frequently, just until the pan begins to smoke, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the paprika to the pan and transfer the spices to a plate to let cool. Using a spice grinder, grind the spices to a powder.
In bowl, combine the shrimp with the spice mixture and 1 Tbs. salt. Toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours.
In a saucepan over high heat, combine the rice vinegar, sugar and bay leaves. Bring the mixture to a boil, then add the shrimp and remove from the heat. Let sit at room temperature until the shrimp is pink, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a covered container and refrigerate for at least 1 day and up to 3 days.
To assemble the pickled shrimp relish, in a small bowl, stir together the shallot, Champagne vinegar and a pinch of salt. Set aside for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, cut off the stalks and feathery fronds from the fennel bulb. Discard the stalks or reserve for another use. Chop enough of the fronds to measure 1/2 cup. Cut the fennel bulb into quarters lengthwise and trim away the core. Mince the fennel and transfer to a large bowl. Drain the shrimp and discard the liquid. Finely chop the shrimp and add to the bowl with the fennel.
Add the shallots and vinegar to the bowl with the shrimp and fennel. Add the tarragon and stir gently to combine. Taste, adjust the seasoning, cover and refrigerate until ready to use. The relish can be made up to 1 day in advance.
To make the stew, in a deep skillet over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and season with salt. Sauté the onion until lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the chorizo and sauté until it begins to brown, 7 to 10 minutes. Add the zucchini, bell peppers, jalapeño, oregano and thyme and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are slightly tender, about 10 minutes. Season with a bit more salt. Pour the beer over the vegetables and add the clams. Cover the skillet and cook until the clams have opened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the tomato and parsley, toss to combine and serve immediately with the pickled shrimp relish alongside. Serves 6.
Jason French, Chef/Owner, Ned Ludd, Portland, OR