Monday, September 12, 2011

Back to Reality

Linguine with Clam Sauce

I had a great time on Fire Island and will be posting pictures and recipes from my trip.  It's pretty slim pickings at the grocery store in Cherry Grove so I had to get creative when it came to meals!

Let your clams come to room temperature before pan-frying

As promised I'm posting my recipe for linquine with clam sauce.  This time I just used little neck clams.  Sometimes I'll incorporate their smaller cousin the cockle to make the plate look more interesting.  If you go this route just be sure to add the cockles after the clams have been cooking for a while as the cockles cook very quickly.  Another important note: be sure to leave the clams out on the counter for at least an hour before cooking.  If you put cold clams straight from the fridge into hot oil the oil is going to fly out of the pan and all over the kitchen (and you if you're not careful.  I learned this the hard way and ended up fleeing my kitchen until the fireworks were over).

First I pan fry heirloom cherry tomatoes

You know me - I always have to stray from traditional recipes.  The Farmers Market had mouth-watering heirloom cherry tomatoes which I incorporated.  They were good sized.  I stir fry them in extra virgin olive oil to start.

After a few minutes add the clams and chopped fresh garlic to the pan

After the tomatoes have been sauteeing for a few minutes and start to get soft, carefully add the clams.  The clams will cook just fine in the olive oil and will eventually start to emit their liquid, which is the beauty of this dish - fresh clam juice is a wonderful thing.  After a minute add white wine and a few pats of butter to taste.  If you want to keep it truly skinny you can skip the butter, but a little goes a long way - live a little!  If you'd like to thicken the gravey spinkle some flour on top of the mixture and stir well so it's incorporated and doesn't leave the raw flour taste.

Add your linguine right into the pan and stir

When the clams have opened add your linguine straight from the boiling pan.  Mix in a ladle full of the starchy pasta water to further thicken the sauce.  Top it off with a generous amount of fresh squeezed lemon juice. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley.

Linguine with fresh clams and cockles (taken with old camera)
On Fire Island we had clams in broth with warm bread as an amuse bouche


1/2 dozen little neck clams per person
1/2 dozen cockles per person (optional)
6 - 7 heirloom (or regular) cherry tomatoes cut in half
Juice of 1 lemon
1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 - 4 pats butter (at room temperature)
3 garlic cloves per person chopped
1/4 - 1/2 cup white wine (something you'd drink - don't get cooking wine)
2 - 3 teaspoons flour (optional)
2 - 3 sprigs parsley for garnish
Sprinkling of red pepper flakes
Your favorite linguine; cook per instructions on package


Note: this is a dish that cooks very quickly and you need to stand over the stove as it cooks

Pre-heat non-stick pan on medium heat
When pan is sufficiently pre-heated add olive oil to pan and let heat for about 20 - 30 seconds
Chop the tomatoes in half and add to pan.  Stir around a bit.
When the tomatoes start to soften add the clams
After the clams have cooked for a minute or so, add the garlic.  Garlic burns very easily so be careful not to overcook.  If you're using the cockles add them after 2 minutes.
Add the white wine and stir mixture; next sprinkle on the four (if desired).  Add the butter and lemon juice.
When the clams start to open lower heat.  When all the clams have opened remove from heat.  If there are any unopened clams discard (only the unopened clams). 
Add cooked linguine al dente and a ladle of the starchy pasta water.  Garnish with parsley and red pepper flakes.  Mix and serve.

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