As a countdown to the Best of Broward Palm Beach 2011, coming in June, Clean Plate Charlie is serving up a hundred of our favorite dishes in South Florida. Send your own nominations to Deirdra.Funcheon@BrowardPalmBeach.com.
No. 17: Pan-roasted Clams With White Beans From Himmarshee Bar and Grille
To turn the expected into something extraordinary is the job of any great artist. And there's certainly some art at work in Himmarshee Bar and Grille's fabulous dish of pan-roasted
clams, a staple on its menu even in these post-Chris Miracolo days. The formula itself is pretty standard -- take impeccably fresh shellfish, add some aromatics, and lavish them in some savory mixture of wine and stock until those sweet, fleshy jewels just begin to peek out of their shells. The difference at Himmarshee is that the formula is executed flawlessly. The clams are fresh, so much so that you can still taste the saltwater. And they're scented with just the right amount of garlic, chili, and shallot, then larded with pancetta to give them heft. But where the dish really takes flight is with the white beans, which transmit just the right starchy depth to the lux broth as to make the best part of any shellfish meal -- that's the sopping of the broth with a little crusty bread -- even more pleasurable. Best of all, at $12 a pop, these clams are an affordable mixture of both high- and low-brow art -- particularly after a couple of cocktails from one of Fort Lauderdale's most celebrated bars.