Christopher Geyer, the chef at Nick's Italian Cafe, devised this dish, which goes nicely with Oregon pinot gris. If manila clams are not available, feel free to substitute littlenecks or even cherrystones, though those will require a little more cooking time.
- 4 tbsp. butter
- 10 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 cup dry vermouth
- 2 tbsp. herbes de Provence
- 2 lb. manila clams, scrubbed
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 6 tbsp. capers, drained
- 6 tbsp. dijon mustard
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Melt butter in a large heavy-bottomed nonreactive skillet with a tight-fitting lid over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until soft and just beginning to color, 3–5 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high, add vermouth and herbes de Provence, and boil, stirring often, until liquid has reduced by half, about 3 minutes.
Add clams to skillet, cover, and steam, shaking skillet over heat occasionally, until shells open, about 5 minutes. (Discard any shells that don't open.) Divide clams between 4 warm wide soup bowls, leaving garlic-and-herb broth in skillet. Return skillet to medium-high heat.
Add cream, capers, and mustard to skillet, stir to combine, and gently boil until sauce is just thick enough to coat the back of the spoon. 6-8 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide sauce between bowls of clams.