Tag

clams

This past weekend we headed out to the Pacific coast for a razor clamming gateway. This was my first time, but fortunately our friends had been there before. “Razor clamming” is essentially the harvesting of the pacific razor clam (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pacific_razor_clam). In Washington State the harvesting of razor clams in is highly regulated. You can find location and dates here: http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/. You will also need to get a Wild ID.

One of the things that early on sounded very restricting is that you can also catch up to 15 clams a day. It sounded very little…well it’s not. In a couple of hours it is not easy for beginners to even get to ten.

We headed to Seabrook. Housing is great there, easy access to a great beach with little day traffic, and pricing is great as well.

We lucked out with the weather. It was sunny and warm all weekend, which made the morning activities much easier and a lot more fun.

As for the actual cooking. We lightly fried the clams in butter after buttering them in a mix of thick cornmeal, flour, pepper and salt. The sauce was mix of mayo, wasabi, lime juice, and spicy sauce.

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Pasta with clams is a great all year around dish. It is easy to prepare, but it require good execution.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of clams
  • 1/2 pound of linguini (see it on Amazon)
  • 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • a clove of garlic
  • Salt, pepper
  • About a quarter of a thai chili pepper  (optional – note that you can use chili flakes)
  • italian parsley (optional)
  • one once of white wine

 

The steps:

Step #0 – Start boiling plenty of water in a pot.  This dish is actually really quick, by the time you get the sauce going you should have the pasta cooking.  I usually start making the sauce as the water starts boiling and I put the pasta in.

Step #1 – In a deeper pan throw in olive oil, chopped garlic and the clams. Cook it over medium heat.  After a few minutes the clams will start opening up and release water.  Here’s a quick tip: take some of the water released by the clam and set it aside, it will be useful later to make sure that the sauce does not get too dry.

Step #2 – After you save some of the water add the white wine and let it reduce for couple of minutes.  Season with pepper/salt.

Step #3 – You are about done with the sauce.  This is where you need to make a judgement call on how how dry the sauce is.  If it seems a little dry add some of the clams’ water you saved.  If you do so, make sure you cook it for about a minute.  The pasta should be done by now and it’s time to blend.  Add the parsley, the chilli flakes and extra pepper.

Step #4 – You are done.  Time to plate!

 

Enjoy!

Tonight it was a hot and very summer evening!  I wanted to have something light, fresh and more importantly quick to cook.  I headed to the QFC close to my condo to grab some groceries for the next few days and the food section looked pretty good.  They had some “wild catch Dover sole” (we call it “sogliola” in Italian) and I thought to cook it with a few clams and fresh tomatoes.  I had what I was looking for:  Sogliola con vongole.

In Italy you would usually expect the sole to be cooked on the grill with a little drizzled olive oil.  Not bad.  Tonight I felt experimenting a little I wanted to use clams to give it a little extra kick.  It may just me, but especially with white fish you do need a little “some some” to give a little more character to the fish.

Ingredient list is very short:

  • one sole fillet
  • a few clams (I used four tonight)
  • one fresh tomato
  • garlic (one clove)
  • salt and pepper
  • some white wine
  • italian parsley
  • olive oil (extra virgin preferred)

This is a super quick dish and it really takes 10mins to cook the all thing!

  1. in a pan put couple of table spoons of olive oil and the garlic.  For one sole I used about half of clove. Of course you are free to add more or less.  Medium heat should do it.
  2. after the garlic starts cooking add the clams.  Give the clams about a minute to warm up, but make sure that as soon as they start opening you add the sole and the chopped freshed tomatoes.  This is what my pan was looking like at this point.
  3. At this point the sole is cooking. The clams should be open and they have released the sea water.  This is a good time to add a splash of white wine, the salt, the pepper (don’t be shy!) and a little parsley.  Make sure you turn the sole once.  pix here.
  4. After about 3-4 mins the sole is going to be cooked and the clams are cooked as well.  The dish is ready!
  5. Optional step:  after you remove the sole, clams and mussells from the pan you will still have some good stuff in there.  You could deglaze it using another splash of white wine.  Pour the outcome on the sole. 
  6. Your dish is ready!

Let me know what you think… 

Spring is in the air and the summer is coming soon.  So it's about time to explore some of those light seafood dishes that are perfect for the summer dinners.

Let's start with a GREAT appetizer: guazzetto di cozze e vongole (light mussells and clams broth). This is ideal for any size gathering.

In Italy this dish is very popular in coast towns. You can either buy the goods from a local fish market or in many cases you can find them from vendors off the street.  In "theory" it's not legal to go catch mussells yourself, but in my town there are ton of them and some people do round up a few extra $$$ by diving early in the morning. I tried a few times, but quickly realized that I was better at eating them than catching them.
 
In the States you can easily find both mussells and clams. I usually prefer to buy them from specialized fish markets or higher-end supermarkets (Wholefoods or Larry's).  The reason is quite simple: you really don't want to mess up with the quality of these things. Added bonus: the price is pretty much the same.

Before moving to the recipe (very easy), couple of words on how to get the goods:
– Clams…you want them closed
– Mussells…you want them closed and intact

There is another reason to go for a specialized market. They know this stuff and they will discard the ones that are not good.  You don't want to pay for mussells that are you going to throw away…do you?

Once you get them you need to prep them.  This is what I do:

Clams: Put them on warm water with rock salt and leave them for few means (at least 15-20).  The goals is to have them open them just a bit to have the sand comeout.  You may want to go through this couple of times.  Make sure you rinse them one more time before you put them in the pot.

Mussells:  It would be great if you can get mussells already cleaned.  If your provider will not clean them for you, than you'll have to do it.  Budget for the time, it takes more than you may think (of course it depends on the quantity).  When I clean mussell I make sure I do couple of things: clean all the "things" that are stuck to the surface and make sure that I remove the little green cord that comes out of it (sorry…but I don't know how these are called!)

OK…let's move to the official ingredients:

  • One pound of clams
  • One pound of mussells
  • Three cloves of garlic
  • One tomato
  • a cup of white wine
  • a bunch of italian parsley
  • olive oil
  • black pepper
  • optional: some bread (the "regular" one, something like "pugliese")

Putting this together is really easy.

Take a decently sized pot.  In the pot pour the olive oil (between 14 and 12 cup), the garlic (don't over chop it, I usually just make 4-5 pieces out of each clove), clams, mussells, tomatos (I remove the "soft" part and cut it in big chunks), ground pepper, wine and some chopped parsley.

Leave it cooking at medium hit for about 10mins.  You will see the clams and the mussells opening up, after they are open just keep them for 2-3 minutes.  You don't want them to overcook and become dry. 

You are done!  Just pour such goodness in a big serving plate, sprinkle some fresh chopped parsley and enjoy!

Bonus.  Take the bread, slice it and toast it.  Serve the bread on the side of the serving platter…that toasted bread with the clam/mussells broth tastes really good!

Couple of reference pictures here.

I leave with a final note…PLEASE do not use cream on this dish! 🙂