Serves 6 +
This dish has all the flavors of red clam sauce, and all the comforts of a tomato soup. For those days when you want to stay away from pasta and clam sauce, or don’t feel like a creamy clam chowder, this is a delicious alternative. Serve it hot, or at room temperature in the summer, with some grilled crusty bread.
- 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to finish
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
- 2 dozen littleneck clams, washed and scrubbed
- ½ cup finely chopped onion
- Two 28-ounce cans whole San Marzano tomatoes, crushed by hand
- 1 large fresh basil sprig
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
- Kosher salt, to taste
- 2 cups day-old crustless bread cubes
In a large pot, over medium-high heat, put 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the garlic. Once the garlic is hot, add the clams and 1 cup of water. Cover, and simmer until the clams open, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the clams as they open, discarding any clams that don’t open. Pass the cooking liquid through a strainer and reserve. Remove the clam meat from shells, and coarsely chop.
Meanwhile, in a soup pot, heat the remaining ¼ cup of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, basil, red-pepper flakes, 1 cup of water, and the reserved -clam–cooking liquid. Taste, and season with salt. Bring to a simmer, and cook until thickened, about 20 minutes.
Add the bread cubes. Simmer, breaking up the bread cubes with a whisk to make a thick soup. Remove the basil. Stir in the chopped clams, and finish with a drizzle of olive oil.