To quote Hank Shaw, “There is nothing more Iberian – meaning Spanish, Basque or Portuguese – than the combination of shellfish and pork.” He even speculates that this classic combination was used to ferreting out Conversos during the inquisition. But, mostly I think it is because the combination is so delicious.
Today, I give my interpretation of Hank’s Steamed Clams with Chorizo. Other than some fresh clams, I get mine at Mutual Fish which is right down the street from my house, and good quality Spanish Chorizo, I get that at Big Johns PFI, the other key ingredient is Pimenton de la vera. Smoked Spanish Paprika is unlike the bitter grocery store paprika that your mother used to sprinkle on everything, Pimenton is sweet and smoky and adds a depth to any dish, and aside from saffron is what makes Paella taste like Paella.
I can think of no better pairing for this dish than a good Albarino. Albarino is the undisputed great white wine of Spain. Native to Galicia on northeastern coast the wine has been served with shellfish since the time of the Cluny Monks walking the Pilgrimage of the El Camino de Santiago in the twelfth century. For hundreds of years, Albariño vines could be found growing around the trunks of poplar trees and in bushes along the outside margins of a field. Today, the Albarinos of Rais Baixes are recognized as some of the best wines in Spain.
Recently an Albarino was awarded a Platinum Medal at the 17th annual Platinum Judging, conducted by Wine Press Northwest magazine. It is made by a young man Named Victor Palencia and is one of my favorite white wines produced in the state.
Palencia Winery 2015 Albarino, Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley $15.99 “This grape is native to the Iberian Peninsula, yet it thrives in the arid Columbia Basin. Aromas of dried pineapple and banana play out on the palate with hints of melon, gooseberry and lemon meringue. It earned gold medals in two Oregon judgings prior to its Platinum.” – Andy Perdue
“Clean, clear and bright with fresh white peach and tropical notes on the nose, a mélange of fruit opens on the palate; sweet cantaloupe, apple, peach, pear and lemon zest are framed with bright minerality and zippy acidity. A refreshing and delicious Galicia style Albarino.” – Lenny
Victor Palencia is barely in his thirties’ and has been making wine before he could legally drink! It was a New Times Article that first brought him to the attention of the public, A Vineyard Prodigy Too Young to Drink. Since then Victor has been named in “Americas Top 40 under 40” by Wine Enthusiast Magazine and his wines consistently receive Gold Medals and praise from press and competitions. The future is bright for this young man who was born in Mexico and raised in Prosser, working with grapes since age 13. He says it was his destiny to make wine.
Spanish Style Steamed Clams with Chorizo
1 pound Roasted potatoes 3 pounds small Manila Clams*
1/4 cup olive oil
1 shallot, finely diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon red chile flakes
1/2 pound Spanish chorizo, sliced
1 cup white wine (Albarino)
2 teaspoons Pimenton De la Vera
1 teaspoon Sherry Vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 teaspoon sea salt
Big loaf of crusty bread