The Literate Chef

Posts Tagged ‘Littleneck Clams’

Spaghetti con Vongole & Chorizo

In Clams, Pasta, Pork, Recipes, Seafood on February 21, 2014 at 4:49 PM

Spaghetti con Vongole & Chorizo

Spaghetti con Vongole & Chorizo

A few nights ago, Betty made a big platter of her famous Paella Isabella. It served 5 for dinner very nicely. However, not all of the clams and chorizo that we had bought wound up in the paella, which got me thinking about what to do with them the next day.

Having a vague recollection of a pasta dish with clams and pancetta, and thinking about dishes where seafood and pork combine nicely, I decided to experiment with these leftovers. A light tomato sauce, almost a Marechiaro, seemed to be the right approach. Rather than parsley, Betty suggested a little cilantro to finish the dish. It was the right thing to do, and the result was sublime.

(Serves 2, preparation time, 30 minutes)

Ingredients:

¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
7 cloves of garlic, minced
2 dozen Littleneck Clams, scrubbed and rinsed
¼ lb. Chorizo, cut into ½ inch cubes
1 cup of dry white wine
2 large ripe tomatoes, cut-up
½ lb. spaghetti
Chopped cilantro, about 3 tablespoons

Procedure:

1. Boil a large pot of water for the spaghetti.
2. Heat olive oil in a separate pot, about 5 qt. sized.
3. Add the garlic to the oil, and sauté lightly; do not let it burn.
4. Add the wine and bring to a boil.
5. Add the clams and cover the pot.
6. After about 2 or 3 minutes, add the tomatoes and chorizo.
7. When clams begin to steam open, add the spaghetti to the boiling water and cook according to directions.
8. Once most of the clams have opened, to avoid over-cooking them, remove them to a bowl while the sauce continues to boil and thicken, and until the spaghetti is done.
9. When the spaghetti is al dente to the taste, drain it and add it to the sauce.
10. Transfer the spaghetti and sauce to a large serving bowl, add the clams and garnish with cilantro.
11. Serve immediately.
12. Feel free to add grated pecorino-romano cheese, if so desired.

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Linguine with White Clam Sauce (Linguine con Vongole)

In Clams, Pasta, Recipes, Sauces, Seafood on June 16, 2012 at 9:18 AM

Linguine with White Clam Sauce (Linguine con Vongole)

(Serves four)

4 doz. medium-sized Cherrystone or Littleneck clams, about 5 lbs.
4 tbsp. of finely chopped garlic, about 12 cloves
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat (Italian) parsley
1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
½ cup of dry white wine
2 8 oz. bottles of Clam Juice
1 & ½ lbs. dried Linguine (Barilla, DeCecco or other premium brand)

These steps can be performed in advance of serving the meal

1.    Set a large pot (6-8 quarts) of water on the stove, cover it and bring to a boil. When it begins to boil, reduce heat, keep covered and hot.
2.    Clean and shuck the clams, reserving the juices, you should have about 3 cups. Set aside 12 clams unopened – 3 for each pasta serving.
3.    Chop the garlic.
4.    Wash and dry the parsley, but do not chop it until just before adding to the sauce, that retains its color.
5.    Heat the olive oil on medium in a large sauté pan, and add the butter.
6.    When the butter is melted, foamy and bubbling, reduce heat to medium, add the garlic and cook it stirring continuously for about 1 minute.
7.    Add the wine and return heat to high, bring to a boil, continue to boil for 3 minutes, stirring continuously
8.    Add clam juice and reserved clam liquid. We prefer our clam sauce with a lot of liquid, if you prefer it on the dry side, than add only 1 bottle or none.
9.    Bring to a boil for 3 minutes.

About 15 or 20 minutes before you are ready to serve the Linguine

1.    Bring the pasta water and clam sauce to a full boil. Add the 12 reserved unopened clams to the sauce and cover.
2.    Add kosher salt to the water and add the linguine. Cook the linguine until not quite al dente, about 7 minutes.
3.    After the pasta has been cooking for about 3 minutes, remove the cover from the sauce, add the parsley and shucked, stir well, and continue cooking uncovered.

White Clam Sauce, ready for the pasta

4.    Drain the pasta, add it to the sauce in the pan, and mix it well with tongs until al dente.
5.    Remove to a large bowl and serve, garnishing each dish with 3 clams that are still in their shells.

Hot crusty Italian Bread makes a great accompaniment, as does a good dry white wine such as Wairau River Sauvignon Blanc.

Please see Clam Shucking for the secret on opening clams.

Clam Shucking

In General Articles on June 16, 2012 at 9:15 AM

Summer is fast approaching and it is time to make one of our favorite pasta meals, Linguine with White Clam Sauce. This is a quick and easy meal to prepare, with most of the work centered on opening the clams. Fortunately, Big Mike’s best friend, my ‘Uncle’ Joe, was a master clam shucker and taught me the technique, at the many clambake/cookouts he hosted in his Long island backyard in the 1950s.

Uncle Joe moved with his family from the Bronx to Long Island in the early 50s as the potato farms in Nassau County were being sold to real estate developers and constructing tract housing for the returning WWII GIs was a booming business. We still lived in Inwood, without a car. But at least once a month, Uncle Joe drove all the way in from Franklin Square on a Saturday morning to pick up our family, drive us out to his house, and return us to our one-bedroom apartment on Sunday night.

Besides learning how to shuck clams and eat them on the half-shell, Uncle Joe taught me how to pour a beer, build a charcoal fire and grill sausages, skills that have served me well in life. He loved life and lived it to the fullest. I wish our daughters could have known him, but he died much too young. Those weekend outings to ‘the country’ were a real treat, and I remember them and Uncle Joe’s generosity with great fondness.

Dorothea, who did not learn how to shuck clams, taught me how to make a clam sauce the easy way: sauté some chopped garlic in olive oil, toss in some chopped fresh parsley, add a bottle of clam juice and a can of minced clams and voila, homemade clam sauce. It was darn good as far as I was concerned and I didn’t know any better, so that recipe sufficed until I began to experiment on my own.

At first, I merely substituted fresh clams for the canned ones, a significant improvement. Then later, after comparing notes with Tommy T, he convinced me to add butter to the olive oil to finish the sauce. Finally, after reading a few cookbooks, I decided that a little bit of dry white wine would round it out perfectly. So here it is, Chef Scar’s own Linguine with White Clam Sauce. And, if like me, you enjoy cheese with your pasta, don’t listen to the so-called purists who will admonish you for adding cheese to seafood, go ahead and liberally heap several  tablespoons of grated Pecorino-Romano, preferably Locatelli brand on your Linguine. Mangia!

The secret to opening clams is to get them ice cold so that they relax, and use a good thin-bladed clam knife, don’t try to use a kitchen knife or an oyster knife.

Paella Isabella

In Recipes, Rice, Seafood on January 29, 2012 at 2:28 PM

Paella Isabella

Paella Isabella

The secret to great paella is to be vigilant during the cooking process, constantly turning the mixture as ingredients are added, while simmering on low heat. The rice should be moist, sticky and tender when finished, so taste it periodically during the cooking. Make no mistake about it, paella is not a ‘fast food’, but the attention it requires is repaid by a delicious and most enjoyable meal.

Special equipment: a carbon steel 12 to 14 inch paella pan, a wooden spoon for stirring and large spatula for turning.

Total preparation and cooking time: 1 ½ to 2 hours. Serves 4 to 6 people.

Ingredients:
•    2 tbsps. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
•    4 Boneless, Skinless, Chicken Thighs, halved
•    4 tbsps. Unsalted Butter
•    1 Large Yellow Onion, chopped
•    1 qt.  Unsalted Chicken Stock
•    1 tsp. Saffron
•    1 Cup of Arborio Rice
•    3 Chorizos, sliced ¼ inch thick
•    ½ lb. Frozen Peas
•    ½ lb. Mussels, de-bearded and rinsed
•    2 dozen small Littleneck Clams, scrubbed and rinsed
•    2 Lobster Tails, removed from shell and quartered
•    ½ cup dry white wine
•    1 lb. Large Shrimp, cleaned and deveined
•    2 large Roasted Red Peppers, thinly sliced
•    1 small jar Marinated Artichoke Hearts, drained

Preparation:
1.    Heat the olive oil on medium and brown the chicken.
2.    Remove and set aside the chicken, add and melt the butter.
3.    Add onions, sauté until translucent.
4.    Add 3 cups of chicken stock and bring to a low boil.
5.    Add saffron and stir well, then add the rice.
6.    Cook over low-medium heat for about 15 minutes, stirring constantly.
7.    Add back the browned chicken, then the chorizos.
8.    Add the peas and remaining cup of chicken stock, reduce heat to low.
9.    For the next 30 minutes add and stir constantly the following ingredients: mussels, clams and lobster meat.
10.    When clams begin to open, add the wine and cook 5 minutes.
11.    Add the shrimp, peppers and artichoke hearts, stir until shrimp turn pink approximately 15 minutes.

Serve with Rioja wine such as: Marques De Caceres Rioja Crianza Red

Please see: Cooking in Naples…Florida, that is!

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