Memphis’ “Hog & Hominy” on GQ’s Best Restaurants List!

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Chefs Andrew Ticer and Michael Hudman share one of the recipes that helped their new restaurant get in GQ Magazine and land a James Beard nomination!

Steamed Clams, Benton Bacon, Potato, Lemon Conserva

This is a straightforward dish paying homage to clam chowder. But we wanted to make our dish more about the clams and then use the flavors of a typical creamy chowder as a sauce. We top the dish with a bright lemon conserva and spicy chile oil to make the flavors really sing, Italian style.

Makes 2 servings

1 Yukon gold or russet potato, peeled and diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 cup (8 fl oz/250 ml) chicken stock
3 sprigs fresh thyme
16 clams
2 tablespoons diced bacon, preferably Benton’s Bacon
½ cup (4 fl oz/125 ml) heavy cream
¼ cup (2 fl oz/60 ml) dry white wine
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons Lemon Conserva
Chile Oil

Simmer the potato in water to cover until just tender when tested with the tip of a knife, about 10 minutes. You want the potatoes be just cooked through but still have a firm texture. Drain and set aside. Meanwhile, blanch the celery in a saucepan of boiling salted water for 30 seconds, then transfer to a bowl of ice water to cool. Drain and set aside.

In a saucepan over high heat, combine the stock, 1 sprig of the thyme, and the clams, cover the pot. Let the liquid come to a boil and cook the clams just until they pop open, about 4 minutes; do not overcook. As soon as they open, remove the pan from the heat and set aside.

In another saucepan, render the bacon over medium heat, taking care not to add too much color, about 2 minutes. Add the potato, celery, and remaining 3 thyme sprigs and sauté until the potatoes are tender, about 5 minutes. Add the cream and cook until reduced by half, about 4 minutes, being careful not to over-reduce the liquid. Strain the clams through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. Add the clams, still in their shells, and ¼ cup of the clam-cooking liquid to the pan with the potatoes and cook until the cream just clings to the back of a spoon, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Divide the clams, vegetables, and sauce among warm shallow bowls and garnish with small spoonfuls of the Lemon Conserva, using about 1 tablespoon total per serving. Drizzle with the Chile Oil and serve right away.

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