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Posts Tagged ‘Seafood’

Before I became a pescetarian, I hardly ever put seafood and pasta together. I always stuck with cooking, or ordering, beef bolognese, which is too bad. Seafood is a great compliment to pasta, especially shellfish.

I’ve never been a huge clam fan, but lately, I’ve given them a chance, and I’m glad I have. They’re becoming one of my favorites to work with and this recipe is in my top 5 pasta dishes.

If you’ve never cooked clams, please, don’t be intimidated. They practically do the work for you, so give them a try.

You can use any size of clam you want for this recipe, so don’t worry if you’re local seafood store only has one kind to choose from.

Let’s get started.

First, soak your clams in cold water for at least 20 minutes before cooking. Why, you ask? As clams breathe they filter water. When the fresh water is filtered, the clam pushes sand out of their shells. After 20 minutes, the clams should have released any sand in their shells.

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Also, get a pot of salted water going for your pasta.

While the clams are in a happy ice bath, and water is getting to the boiling point, let’s get everything else going.

Chop one large shallot and three to four cloves of garlic.

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Now, sauté the shallot and garlic in a tablespoon of olive oil on medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Be sure to continuously stir, because you don’t want the garlic to burn.

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Now add one cup of wine, one tablespoon of butter, red pepper flakes, and the juice of one lemon. By the way, if you don’t have a hand held lemon/lime juicer, get one. The amount of juice you get from using one is way more than squeezing it with your hand.

Let this cook on medium heat for about five minutes. You want the alcohol from the wine to cook out.

Now add one can of clams.

I bet you’re saying, “What??? CANNED clams?”

Yes. Canned clams.

They add more clam flavor to the dish. If you don’t want to add them, you don’t have to. Also add one bottle of clam juice. This is a clam pasta dish, so you want all the clam flavor you can get. Just trust me.

Stir and let it simmer for a minute or two and then taste. You’ll notice I haven’t added salt up to this point. With the canned clams and bottled can juice, you may not want or need anymore salt. If you feel it needs more, add it to your taste. If you think it’s a little tart, add more butter.

Once you have it like you want, it’s time to add the clams, but first, put your pasta in the boiling water and cook ’til al dente.

While your pasta is cooking, put the clams in the sauce, and turn the heat up to medium-high. You can cover them, if you want, but I like to keep them moving. By moving them around, you can see which ones are opening. As soon as a clam opens, take it out and put it in a bowl. The reason I do this is so they don’t overcook while the others open.

Some will take longer, so be patient, and keep them moving around. Once you get most of them out of the sauce, and you see a few still are not opening, just toss them. If they don’t open, they’re not good.

Now, add your cooked (al dente) pasta to your sauce and stir around.

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Add your clams back to the pan and stir.

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Time to eat!!

One good addition to any saucy dish is crunchy bread!

My favorite local bread is made by Elmore Mountain Bread.

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Man, it doesn’t get any better than this!

(Of course, I added chopped parsley and a little grated parmesan.)

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What you’ll need:

2 lbs fresh clams

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1 tablespoon of butter

1 cup of white wine (sauvignon blanc or pinot grigio)

1 large shallot, chopped

3-4 garlic cloves, chopped

1 can of clams

1 bottle of clam juice

1 lemon, juiced

1 box of spaghetti

Salt to taste

Red pepper flakes to taste

Chopped parsley (optional)

Grated parmesan (optional)

Crusty bread (optional)

Directions:

First, soak your clams for twenty minutes before cooking.

Get a pot of salted water going for your pasta.

Chop one whole shallot and three to four cloves of garlic. Sauté them in one tablespoon of olive oil on med heat for 2-3 minutes. Be sure to continuously stir, because you don’t want the garlic to burn.

Add one cup of wine, one tablespoon of butter, red pepper flakes, and the juice of one lemon. Let this cook on medium heat for about five minutes. You want the alcohol from the wine to cook out.

Add one can of clams and one bottle of clam juice.

Stir and let it simmer for a minute or two and then taste. You’ll notice I haven’t added salt up to this point. With the canned clams and bottle juice, you may not want or need anymore salt. If you feel it needs more, add it to your taste. If you think it’s a little tart, add more butter.

Put your pasta in the boiling water and cook ’til al dente.

While your pasta is cooking, put the clams in the sauce, and keep stirring them until they start opening. As soon as a clam opens, take it out and put it in a bowl. This will ensure they won’t overcook while the others begin to open. Be sure to discard the ones that do not open.

Add your cooked (al dente) pasta to your sauce and stir around. Then add your clams and stir one more time.

Enjoy!

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Mussels are one of my favorites! Most restaurants around here have them on the menu and I order them all the time. There’s nothing like dunking a crunchy piece of buttered bread into the sauce, taking a messy bite, and then pulling a mussel from its shell… repeating over and over until the whole bowl of mussels are gone– nothing left except empty shells. Ah! So, so good!!

Up until a few months ago, I was a little intimidated to make them at home, but I’m glad I gave it a shot. They’re easy to do. I promise. Also, they’re not expensive AT ALL. I got two pounds for less than ten dollars. That’s a deal!

Before I go into the recipe, let me give you a few tips on what to do before cooking the mussels:

  • Before cooking, soak the mussels in a large bowl of ice water, with a cup of flour, for at least thirty minutes. This will clean out any sand in the shells and it also plumps the mussels. I learned this trick from TheKitchn.com.
  • After soaking, drain well. 
  •  Inspect each mussel for a beard (little furry thing at the corner of the mussel). If there’s a beard, pull it out.
  • If a mussel is in any way open, tap it. If it closes, it’s still alive. If it doesn’t close, toss it.

Okay, let’s get cookin’!

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First, dice the garlic, shallots, and tomatoes (or drain canned diced tomatoes).

Heat a large, heavy pot on med-high. Melt butter and add olive oil; add the shallots. Cook for two minutes, and then add the garlic and tomatoes . Cook for 5 minutes, stirring often so the garlic doesn’t burn.

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Time to add wine, vegetable stock, parsley (optional), and lemon juice. Bring to a boil and boil on med-high heat for five minutes.

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Add mussels and stir to coat with the vegetables and sauce. The flour will help thicken the sauce. Cover and let simmer on med-high heat for  8-10 minutes, or until all the mussels open.

After cooked, stir the mussels… are any of them still closed? If so, toss them.

Serve the mussels in a bowl and spoon the sauce on top. Serve with toasted, buttered bread and lemon wedges or with pasta (spaghetti or angel hair is good with mussels). We ate it with both bread and pasta. Why not?

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What you’ll need:

2 pounds mussels

Ice water (for soaking mussels before cooking)

1 cup of flour (for soaking mussels before cooking)

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 tablespoons butter

4 large shallots

4 large garlic cloves

1 lemon, juiced– plus lemon wedges for serving with the dish

1 small can of diced tomatoes (drained well) or 2-3 fresh tomatoes, diced

2 cups of white wine (Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc)

1 cup vegetable stock

Parsley (optional)

Directions:

Before cooking, soak the mussels in a large bowl of ice water, with a large scoop of flour, for at least thirty minutes.

Dice the garlic, shallots, and tomatoes (or drain canned diced tomatoes).

Heat a large, heavy pot on med-high. Melt butter and add olive oil; add the shallots. Cook for two minutes, and then add the garlic and tomatoes . Cook for 5 minutes, stirring often so the garlic doesn’t burn.

Add wine, vegetable stock, parsley (optional), and lemon juice. Bring to a boil and boil on med-high heat for five minutes.

Add mussels and stir to coat with the vegetables and sauce. The flour will help thicken the sauce. Cover and let simmer on med-high heat for 5-8 minutes, or until the mussels open.

After cooked, stir the mussels… are any of them still closed? If so, toss them.

Serve the mussels in a bowl and spoon the sauce on top. Serve with toasted, buttered bread and lemon wedges or with pasta (spaghetti or angel hair is good with mussels).

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