Pepper Jelly-Braised Clams
- 8 slices of bacon (8 ounces)
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon crab paste (see Note)
- 1 tablespoon Thai chile paste or sambal oelek
- 4 dozen littleneck clams, scrubbed
- 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
- 3 cups unsweetened coconut milk
- 5 tablespoons hot pepper jelly
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest plus 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1/4 cup coarsely torn mint leaves, plus small whole leaves for garnish
- Kosher salt
Adapted from foodandwine.com
Preheat the oven to 375°. Arrange the bacon slices side by side on a rack set over a baking sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes, until golden and crisp. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel–lined plate to cool. Break into large pieces.
Meanwhile, in a large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat the oil. Add the garlic, ginger, crab paste and chile paste and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until the garlic is golden, about 3 minutes. Add the clams and wine, cover and simmer over high heat until all the clams have opened, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the coconut milk and 3 tablespoons of the pepper jelly. Simmer for 1 minute, then stir in the lime zest and juice and torn mint and season with salt.
Ladle the clams and broth into bowls. Dollop the remaining 2 tablespoons of pepper jelly over the clams and garnish with mint leaves and the bacon.
Crab paste is available at Pan-Asian markets and from amazon.com.