Clams and cod in heavy cream with tiny potatoes and celery

By Alison Roman
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  • 1.8 kilograms manila clams or very small littleneck clams, scrubbed well
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for the bread
  • 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 455 grams small waxy potatoes, sliced into ¼-inch-thick coins
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 celery stalks, thinly sliced on the bias, plus leaves for garnish
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 cup very dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc (see Note)
  • 1-1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 340 grams cod or pollack, cut into 5 centimeter pieces
  • 1 cup fresh parsley, tender leaves and stems
  • 1 lemon, for zesting and juicing
  • Toast or crusty bread, for serving


  1. Place the clams in a large bowl and let them soak in very cold water while you prepare the broth.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large pot (better if it’s wider than tall) over medium-high heat and add the garlic and potatoes. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are totally softened and tender, eight to ten minutes.
  3. Add the celery and red pepper flakes and season with salt and pepper. Add the wine and cook two to three minutes, until reduced by about half. Add the cream and bring to a simmer.
  4. Add the clams, making sure they are nestled in there (but they don’t all have to be submerged) and place the lid on top. Cook, resisting the urge to check for at least five minutes (a watched clam never opens). Once the clams start to open (four to eight minutes), give them a stir, encouraging the rest of them to open. If any clams are especially late to the party (so late they never open), remove and discard.
  5. Add the cod, letting it nestle into the broth and season with salt and pepper. Place the lid on again and cook until the fish is cooked through, about five minutes. Remove from heat.
  6. Toss the parsley and any celery leaves in a medium bowl. Juice and zest the lemon over and season with salt and pepper. Scatter over the pot before serving with toast or bread.

NOTE As always, don’t use a wine you wouldn’t drink, but it’s important to note that here you want to avoid any wine that you’d interpret as “sweet” or “oaky.” I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you this, but please feel free to drink the rest of the bottle with the clams.



Reprinted from Nothing Fancy. Copyright © 2019 by Alison Roman. Photographs copyright © 2019 by Michael Graydon and Nikole Herriott Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.

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