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Posts Tagged ‘Clam’

Let me start out by saying YES this was a very tasty meal, I am so proud of myself for making this dish.  Of course many people are probably thinking, “piece of cake” but for me there was something about making the sauce with fresh cockles intimidated me.  I was determined to try and there right near the front of my favorite supermarket, Wegman’s was a big iced display of fresh mussels and clams.  And there was Gus;  Gus is the chef in residence at the Wegman’s store in Ocean, NJ.  He has a station near the front and next to the vegetables and it’s his job to cook tasty bites for customers using Wegman’s ingredients.  He ALWAYS has a great recipe for me so I headed straight to him to get his take on white clam sauce.  He happened to be cooking zucchini squash in a ginger soy sauce – very good!  Gus gave me his recipe and I took some notes, but knew that I was going to tweak this recipe myself.

A photo of clams

Fettucine with White Clam Sauce

Here’s what I did:

Olive oil to cover the bottom of a braising pan

2 cloves of garlic minced

1/2 to 1 whole Vidalia onion ( I happened to have a half in the fridge)

red pepper flakes 

1 small container of Wegman’s Garlic Cheese Butter

2 cups of chicken broth (use vegetable broth if you are vegetarian) I never thought to use broth, added great flavor,

1/2 cup of white wine

1/2 cup of chopped fresh parsley

1-2 TBS fresh oregano

1 bag of fresh clams

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

Shredded or grated Pecorino Romano cheese

1 # Barilla linguine (i’m convinced Barilla pasta has a lovely flavor of its own and adds another flavor to the dish)

Prior to preparing the meal put the clams in a basin of cold water with a lot of salt to soak for at least 30 minutes.  The clams will rid themselves of any sand.  I let them sit longer and changed the water a couple of times and put some ice in at one point to keep them cold.  Then I put them in a bowl in the refrigerator.

Put a pot of salted water on to boil.

Heat oil in braising pan on medium.  Add onion, garlic and red pepper flakes and cook till softened and golden.  Add the chicken broth and white wine, raise the heat slightly and cook down about 1/3 to 1/2.  

Add the container of garlic cheese and half of the parsley.  Toss in the oregano.  Add the clams and turn up the heat.  As the clams begin to open in 5-7 minutes, remove the clams with a slotted spoon to a bowl and start to shuck them, leaving as many as many as you would like to remain in the shell.  I tried to pick out the smaller ones to put aside for the pasta.  Once I started shucking I put the linguine in the boiling water.

When the pasta is about a minute away from being done, I put the clam bodies back in the pan. Season with salt and pepper. I reserved a cup of pasta water in case I needed it to add to the sauce.

Drain the linguine and add to the sauce in the braising pan.  Toss well.  Sprinkle grated cheese on top, the rest of the parsley and add the clams in the shell. 

Buono Appetito! Mangia!

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Littleneck clams, small hard clams, species Me...

Little Neck Clams

You know I LOVE shopping at Wegman’s and one the best features of the store is that fact that often when you walk in, you see Gus over to the left and you know to make a bee line directly to him to see what he is cooking up!  Well the other day it was clams!  Gus was grilling some Little Neck clams and preparing them in a way that never occurred to me.  He handed me a warm little half clam shell with the clam and a tiny piece of steamed asparagus in it and it was drizzled with Wegman’s  Garlic Cheese Finishing Butter.

If you recall my very long Memorial Day blog, you know that I served these clams as an appetizer.  They were different, delicious and fairly easy to make.  Of course it is easier to do when you have the ingredients available the way Wegman’s does;  The clams were in a net bag, the asparagus were a gorgeous green, uniform in size and packaged in a micro-wavable pouch and Wegman’s carries a line of finishing butters which come in small round containers, slightly bigger than a disk of cream cheese you might get at a restaurant.

Steam or grill the clams till they open.

Steam your asparagus for a couple of minutes in the microwave.

Melt a container of Wegman’s Garlic Cheese Finishing Butter.

I put the clams on the stove to steam open.   I put the asparagus in the microwave and then put the finishing butter in the microwave to melt.

With slotted spoon, I removed the clams to a colander in the sink and proceed to remove one half of the shells.   I quickly sliced a few asparagus into tiny pieces and put one piece on each clam and then just drizzled the melted butter on each.  It was a great presentation to bring a platter of these to the table

Here’s what I learned – I should have used just the tips of the asparagus because it would have looked nicer and you can always serve the rest of the asparagus minus the tips as a side dish later.  The clams didn’t stay hot while I went through the process of opening and discarding one shell and then topping with asparagus and butter.  A good chef has every component prepped so he or she can just add the ingredients as needed.  I thought I had but I found myself cutting up asparagus or trimming pieces to make them smaller because the clams are tiny.  Next time I will put the finished clams on a baking sheet and warm them up a bit before putting them on the platter.  I was using my Melmac so that wasn’t going in the oven and was too large for the microwave.    To improvise if you can’t find finishing butter, for this dish, I believe melted butter with some garlic powder or garlic salt in it and maybe some finely chopped Italian parsley would be fine.

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