Clams are very Spanish, and in the United States we have only a small fraction of the choices they have in Iberia. Use littlenecks or Manila clams—not mahogany clams or cockles. Try to remove the clams from the pan as they open, so the first ones don’t overcook. Don’t despair if this takes longer than expected. The fresher the clams, the less quickly they will open.
- 24 littleneck or Manila clams
- 2 4-inch-long links smoked Spanish chorizo sausage
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, very thinly sliced (preferably with a mandolin)
- 2 cups dry white wine
- Leaves from 5 sprigs fresh thyme, coarsely chopped
- Scrub the clams under cold running water. Drain and dry the clams.
- Slice the sausage links lengthwise into 3 pieces and then slice across the sausage pieces into strips about 1/2-inch wide.
- Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat and, when hot, add the olive oil. Add the chorizo slices and sear for about 3 minutes, or until nicely browned. Add the garlic and cook for about 2 minutes, or until browned.
- Add the clams, wine, and thyme, shake the pan carefully, and cover with a lid, aluminum foil, or a plate and cook for 7–8 minutes, or until all the clams have opened. (Discard any that do not open.) Using tongs or a slotted spoon, remove the clams from the pan and divide evenly among 4 shallow serving bowls or put in one large bowl.
- Turn the heat to high and cook the sauce for 4–5 minutes, or until slightly reduced and thickened. Pour the sauce and sausage slices over the clams and serve.