Notes: This robust combination of flavors comes from Seattle chef Tom Douglas of Etta's Seafood, the Palace Kitchen, Dahlia Lounge, and now the Dahlia Bakery. If chanterelles are unavailable, you can substitute fresh crimini or shiitake mushrooms (for the shiitakes, trim off and discard the entire tough stem). Douglas leaves the olive pits in but warns diners before they dig in. Serve the clams with toasted slices of hearty bread rubbed with garlic, to sop up the juices, and a Chardonnay that's light on oak: Try the 2000 Frog's Leap, Clos du Val, or Savannah-Chanelle.
1/2 cup diced bacon (about 3 slices; 3 oz. total)
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 ounces fresh chanterelle or common mushrooms, rinsed, tough stem ends trimmed, and cut into 3/4-inch chunks (see notes)
2 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
6 tablespoons unsalted butter or margarine
3 tablespoons dry white wine
1 cup cherry tomatoes, rinsed, stemmed, and cut in half, or 3 firm-ripe Roma tomatoes (about 10 oz. total), rinsed, cored, seeded, and diced
1/2 cup pitted calamata or oil-cured black olives (see notes)
4 sprigs (about 4 in. long) fresh thyme, rinsed
2 pounds clams in shells, suitable for steaming, well scrubbed under cool running water
1 lemon (about 4 oz.), rinsed and cut lengthwise into 6 wedges
How to Make It
In a 10- to 12-inch ovenproof frying pan (with at least 2 1/2-in. sides) over medium-high heat, stir bacon often until browned and crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Add olive oil, mushrooms, and garlic and stir often until mushrooms are slightly limp, 2 to 3 minutes.
Add butter, wine, tomatoes, olives, and thyme sprigs; stir often over high heat until butter is melted and liquid is boiling. Add clams and squeeze 2 lemon wedges over clams, discarding seeds and peels. Cover pan.
Transfer pan to a 500° regular or convection oven and bake until clams pop open, 12 to 15 minutes.
Ladle clam mixture and juices equally into four wide, shallow bowls; discard any clams that didn't open. Garnish each serving with a lemon wedge.