Clams with Roast Tomatoes and Soupy Rice
- cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for final drizzle
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Several sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 dozen little neck clams, scrubbed
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 3 ears corn, kernels removed = 2 cups fresh corn, cobs reserved
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for final drizzle
- 2 cloves garlic, minced to paste
- 3 shallots, finely chopped, heaping 1/4 cup
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh end of summer herbs - have experiments with a mix lemon verbena and lemon thyme and marjoram - all nice - plus more for garnish
- 1 smallish bulb fennel, finely chopped - about 2 cups
- 1 cup arborio rice
Heat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Arrange tomatoes, cut side up, on baking sheet and season with a generous amount of salt and pepper. Sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves. Set in oven and roast soft and bubbling, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven.
Meanwhile set a large pot over a medium flame. Add clams, 1/4 cup wine and 3 cups cold water. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer gently until clams open, about 8 minutes. Discard any clams that fail to open. Use a slotted spoon to remove cooked clams from cooking liquid. Transfer to a large bowl, cover with a damp clothe and refrigerate until needed. Add 2 cups cold water to cooking liquid, reserved corn cobs and bay leaves. Return to boil, reduce heat and simmer about 30 minutes, until liquid is very flavorful. Remove from heat and discard corn cobs and bay leaves.
Set a heavy bottomed saucepan with greater surface area than height over a medium low flame. Let stand a minute or two to heat. Melt 2 tablespoons butter and olive oil together in pot until sizzling. Add garlic, shallots and 1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs and cook, stirring, until soft and translucent, about 3 minutes. Season with a healthy pinch of sea salt and a few cracks of black pepper. Add corn kernels and fennel and cook until soft and just subtly caramelized, about 8 minutes. Season once again. Stir in rice. Stir to coat rice grains in oil and toast just ever so gently. Deglaze pot with remaining 1/4 cup wine. Return clam cooking liquid to the heat and bring to a simmer. Slowly add broth, one ladle full at a time, stirring more or less constantly between each addition and waiting until the liquid has been fully absorbed before adding more. This whole process should take about 20 minutes. Check rice for doneness and when just shy of al dente add remaining broth and clams. Cook until clams are hot and rice is perfect and still soupy. If you have run out of broth - augment with freshly boiled water. Stir in remaining chopped herbs and two tablespoons butter. Adjust seasoning with more salt and pepper. Serve immediately in nice shallow pasta bowls. Spoon tomatoes over each portion and drizzle with a generous amount of olive oil.