Chocolate Clams and Salsa

TOTAL TIME: 50 min
Prep: 30 min
Inactive Prep: --
Cook: 20 min
 
YIELD: 4 servings
LEVEL: Easy

ingredients

DRESSING:
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    GROUND FLAG SALSA:
    • 4 tomatoes, seeded and diced
    • 1 serrano chile, seeded and diced
    • 1 onion, diced
    • Zest and juice of 1 lime
    • 1 handful fresh cilantro, chopped
    • A touch olive oil
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
      REFRIED BEANS ( FRIJOLES REFRITOS):
      • 1 chipotle pepper, seeded and diced
      • About 3 cups cooked black beans
      • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
      • 2 pounds/1 kg chocolate clams in shells
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      Directions

      Cook's Note: The Mexican chocolate clam, so-called for its brown-colored shell, is the largest West Coast bivalve. Reaching up to 6 inches across, the clams are very popular all along the coast of Central America. If Mexican chocolate clams are unavailable at your local store, you can use any other high-quality clams (still in their shells).

      For the dressing: Put the mayonnaise, mustard, cilantro, onions and jalapeno in the recipient of a blender and pulse until creamy. Season with salt and pepper.

      For the salsa: In a bowl, mix the tomatoes, chile, onions, lime zest and juice, cilantro and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. If you like things spicier, put everything through a meat grinder, or a blender, and grind it up. Keep in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

      For the refried beans: Heat the lard in a heavy frying pan over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until softened and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and chipotle pepper and continue sauteing for 1 minute.

      Add a ladle of cooked beans and, using a masher, start mashing the beans. Once the first spoonful of beans has been mashed completely, keep adding more beans and repeating the process. The unique taste of refried beans occurs as a result of slowly frying the starches inside the beans in the lard, so you want to add the beans a little bit at a time, to make sure they all get good and fried.

      Once all the beans have been mashed, add a little bean liquid or water, until you get the texture that you want. Keep it a bit looser than you eventually want, as they will continue to firm up as they cool off the heat. Season with salt and pepper. Keep warm.

      For the clams: Scrub them under cool running water. Discard any gaping clams that don't close when cleaned.

      Set the clams on a BBQ grill over a solid bed of hot coals or over high heat on a gas grill. Close the lid on the gas grill. Cook the clams until they pop open, 6 to 8 minutes.

      Serve with a spoonful of the dressing, the salsa and refried beans. Garnish with lime wedges.

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