To turn this into a great brunch or luncheon main course, slip a few poached or fried eggs on top.
2 cups diced potatoes (about 3/4 pound)
3 pounds soft-shell clams
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons finely minced garlic
3 tablespoons finely minced yellow onion
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons diced red bell pepper
2 tablespoons diced green bell pepper
pinch of cayenne pepper
pinch of paprika
1. Boil the potatoes in salted water until just tender, about 15 minutes. Drain in a colander, and run cold water over the potatoes. Reserve.
2. Put 3/4 of an inch of water in the bottom of a deep kettle, and place a steamer rack over it. Bring water to a boil, put one third of the clams on the rack, and cover with a tight fitting lid. Cook for about 4 to 5 minutes, until clams have opened wide. Remove clams from rack and set aside. Cook the remaining clams in 2 batches. When cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the shells, chop coarsely, and reserve. (You will have about 1 cup clam meat.)
3. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large skillet over high heat. When butter is hot, add garlic, onion, and salt and sauté for 2 minutes, until light golden. Add the remaining tablespoon of butter, and, when melted, add the reserved potatoes and black pepper. Sauté for about 6 to 7 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally, until the potatoes are crisp and well browned.
4. Add red and green peppers, cayenne, paprika, and the reserved clam meat. Stir and cook for 2 minutes. Adjust seasoning, and serve immediately.
Note: If you prefer a crispier top, you could pass the hash under a preheated broiler for a few minutes.
This is an old-time American comfort-food classic that achieved new popularity in the eighties with the rise of high-level, informal American dining -- and the discovery that hash is cool (but watch out for 'foie gras hash, and others of that forced-concept ilk). We love the play here of the soft steamer bellies against the crunchy potatoes. To turn this into a great brunch or luncheon main course, slip a few poached or fried eggs on top. Serves 4 as a first course.