The South can be surprising though and after almost 18 years here, I still find myself oscillating. One November day can be in the high 70s and the next can dip to the low 40s. Which is why I rarely rely on the temperatures to cook the seasonal foods I love. I could be waiting a long time to make a hearty pot roast and would never stop making cold soups or ice creams...
Thus, it's not uncommon for us to have a warm and hearty dish such as these Littleneck Clams With Chorizo and Potatoes one evening and a refreshingly cold Spicy Tomato Gazpacho with a couple of boiled eggs for a light Saturday lunch within the same week.
Littleneck Clams With Chorizo & Potatoes (adapted from Bon Appetit)
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 ounces chorizo, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1/2 pound small redskins potatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup dry white wine
3 pounds littleneck clams, scrubbed of any dirt
Heat the olive oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat (cast iron works great). Add chorizo and cook, stirring often, until chorizo begins to crisp, about 4 minutes. Add the potatoes and garlic.
Cook, tossing often, until potatoes are just about tender, about 8-10 minutes.
Add the wine and cook until reduced by half. Add 1 cup of water and continue to cook until potatoes are just tender, 5-8 minutes longer. Add the clams, cover the pot, and cook, undisturbed, until the clams have opened (10 minutes) (discard any clams that do not open). Divide among bowls and enjoy!
P.S: have some nice thick rustic bread slices to sop up all the juices.
Spicy Tomato Gazpacho:
1 cucumber seeded, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
1 small onion, peeled and quartered
1 4-oz can mild hatch green chiles (sub regular green chiles if not available)
1 pounds ripe tomatoes, quartered
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and stemmed
2 garlic cloves, halved
salt and pepper to taste
In a large blender or food processor (I have this one now that I can't live without!), or working in batches, process all the ingredients, except for the salt and pepper, until you get a coarse puree. Use the pulse button on your machine so you have more control of the texture.
Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if desired. Chill for at least half a day before serving.