This is a dish which has been around for centuries in Portugal.
2 pounds very small clams, about 1 1/2 inches
1 large onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small red or green bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chopped fully-cooked smoked ham
1 (5 ounce) package unsliced pepperoni, chopped
1 (16 ounce) can whole tomatoes (with liquid)
2 bay leaves
Clean clams by scrubbing them thoroughly with a stiff brush under cold running water. Place scrubbed clams in a large pot of cold water to which 2/3 cup vinegar to each gallon water has been added. Let clams soak for 20 to 30 minutes, then change the water.
Add a handful of cornmeal to the soaking water to purge the clams even more effectively. Discard any clams that have open, cracked or broken shells.
Cook and stir onion, garlic, pepper, paprika and crushed red pepper in oil in Dutch oven over medium heat until onion is tender. Stir in remaining ingredients; break up tomatoes with fork. Heat to boiling; reduce heat.
Simmer uncovered 15 minutes.
Add clams to vegetable mixture. Cover and simmer 20 minutes without lifting the cover or stirring. Remove bay leaves and any unopened clams. Serve with French bread if desired.
Makes 4 servings