Piquillo peppers add a spicy, bittersweet edge to this classic seafood stew. Roasted red bell peppers and a pinch of cayenne pepper may be substituted.
1/2 pound chorizo-peeled, halved and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
6 thick slices peasant bread
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
3 large garlic cloves, peeled and 2 minced
1/4 pound thickly sliced bacon, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
1 very large onion, thinly sliced
One 8-ounce can or jar piquillo peppers, liquid reserved, peppers cut into 1/2-inch strips
4 dozen littleneck clams, scrubbed
How to Make It
Preheat the oven to 350°. Put the chorizo in a small saucepan with 1 cup of the stock and simmer until softened, about 15 minutes. Drain the chorizo and discard the broth.
Meanwhile, brush the bread with olive oil and toast for about 10 minutes, until golden. Rub the toasts with the peeled whole garlic clove and transfer each slice to a deep soup bowl.
In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil until shimmering. Add the bacon and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until crisp, 7 to 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a plate and reserve it for another use. Add the onion and minced garlic to the casserole and cook over low heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the piquillo peppers and their liquid and cook for 1 minute. Add the chorizo and the remaining 1/2 cup of stock and bring to a boil. Add the clams, cover and cook over high heat until nearly all have opened, about 10 minutes. Discard any unopened clams. Spoon the stew over the toasts, drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and serve right away.