Potato Soup with Warm Clam Salad

from one of my favorite chef’s Michael Chiarello
I changed the clams to scallops, shrimps would be fabulous too.

Serves: Serves 4
For the soup
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup diced onion (1/4-inch dice)
1/2 cup diced leek (1/4-inch dice)
1/4 cup diced celery (1/4-inch dice)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
salt and freshly ground pepper
4 cups Chicken Stock or canned low-salt chicken broth
1 pound russet potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
1-1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh oregano
Dash Tabasco sauce
1/2 cup diced new or fingerling potatoes (1/4-inch dice)
1/2 cup heavy cream ( I used 2% milk)

For the warm clam salad (change to scallops or shrimps)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon slivered garlic
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 pound Manila or other small clams in shells, scrubbed
salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 cup packed coarsely chopped arugula or watercress
Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large, heavy pot over medium heat until hot. Add the onion, leek, celery, garlic, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft but not brown, about 10 minutes. Add the stock and russet potatoes, season with salt and pepper, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered, until the potatoes are very tender, about 15 minutes. Stir frequently to prevent sticking or scorching. Add the oregano.
puree the soup in a blender or with an immersion blender. Taste for seasoning and add the Tabasco. (The soup can be made ahead to this point and refrigerated for several days or frozen.)
Pour the soup into a large saucepan with the diced new potatoes, and slowly bring to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, until the potatoes are tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cream, heat through, then stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Taste for seasoning. Keep warm.

At this point, make the warm clam salad: Heat the olive oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat until hot. Add the garlic and sauti briefly until light brown. Add the wine, clams, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook, uncovered, shaking the pan occasionally to redistribute and turn the clams, until open and cooked, about 3 minutes. If you use clams other than Manilas, you will need to cover the pan while they cook.
Remove the opened clams to a plate with a slotted spoon. Give any clam that has not opened a firm crack with a pair of tongs or metal spoon, turn it in the liquid, and cook for another minute to see if it will open. Discard any that do not open. Return the pan to high heat and bring the liquids to a boil to reduce the cooking juices slightly. Add the parsley and arugula and stir just to wilt. Taste for seasoning, return the clams to the pan, and toss well to reheat.
Add about 1/4 cup to the middle of the bowl of soup.