Saturday, June 14, 2014

Clams and Mussels in Garlic Wine Sauce

3 Pounds live clams (or 50-50 Clams and Mussels), washed & cleaned
3 Tablespoons butter and 2 Tablespoons good olive oil
1 cup white wine (sauterne or Sauvignon Blanc)
3 garlic cloves, minced
¾ Cup finely chopped shallots or Vidalia onions
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup Italian parsley, finely chopped
1 Pound of pasta, if required

Start by rinsing the clams in water. If you also using mussels, clean these and remove any beards with a sharp pairing knife. Discard those that are open (dead) or broken shells. Then let clams stand covered in a bowl water for two hours to which you add a tablespoon of corn meal. Do not touch the bowl or the clams will “clam up”. You want them to open and drop any excess sand they might have, and additionally, they may be full of salt water which otherwise will make the dish too salty. Do not skip this step. After two, hour rise with cold water twice.
Preheat the oven to 170 F and put your serving platter in it.

Heat a large heavy-bottomed pot with plenty of surface area.  Add and heat the oil, when smoking add the clams and the garlic. Season generously with pepper (Use some red pepper too, if it pleases you.) Flip,  then cover, and cook until all the shells steam open. (Discard any that stay closed.) Remove the clams with a slotted spoon to a heated serving platter. Stick in warm oven to stay warm. Filter the broth through a very fine strainer (need to be able to filter sand) and pour the strained liquid back into the pot. Add the wine, shallots and reduce liquid on high to concentrate the flavor. Remove from heat, adding the butter. Swirl to melt butter. Taste and correct seasoning.

If serving a pasta (spaghetti or linguini), cook a pound of it al dente in boiling salted water then toss the clams, sauce and pasta together in a serving bowl.

Sprinkle with parsley.

1.     Farmed mussels and clams generally do not contain sand but it does not hurt to soak in cold water. Additionally, since these are raised in salt water, their opening will rid some of the undesirable salt.

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