|2 1/2||pounds medium steamer clams|
|1/2||teaspoon vegetable oil|
|2||ounces salt pork, coarsely chopped|
|2||stalks celery, finely chopped|
|1||teaspoon chopped fresh thyme|
|1/2||cup heavy cream|
|6||common crackers, split and toasted, or 16 oyster crackers|
|2||tablespoons chopped chives|
2. In a large pot, bring the water to a boil. Add the clams, cover, and steam for 8 to 9 minutes, stirring once gently, or until they are all open. Use a slotted spoon to remove the clams from the broth, discarding any that do not open; set aside.
3. Line a strainer with cheesecloth. Set it over a bowl; strain the broth.
4. Remove the clams from the shells. Peel away the skin on each clam. Cover and refrigerate.
5. In a flameproof casserole, heat the oil and render the salt pork over low heat, stirring often, for 4 minutes. Turn the heat to medium and cook, stirring, until the salt pork is crisp and golden brown. Use a slotted spoon to remove it from the skillet and transfer to paper towels.
6. Add the butter, celery, and thyme to the pan. Cook over low heat, stirring often, for 8 minutes or until the celery softens.
7. Add the cream and 3 1/2 cups of the clam broth (add water, if necessary, to make that amount). Heat, stirring, until you see bubbles at the edge of the pan. Lower the heat and simmer gently for 10 minutes.
8. Add the clams, salt, and pepper. Serve garnished with crackers, crispy pork, and chives. Adapted from Victory restaurant