Not a food blog

This is not a food blog, but I often try new recipes. This week I was asked for one of them, which supplied the nudge I needed to get my blog up and running. Here’s the recipe. Enjoy!

Clams in White Wine with Cilantro

1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
6 cloves garlic, roughly minced
1/2 t hot red pepper flakes, plain or stored in oil
1/2 c white wine
3 doz small clams
Soak in fridge 2-3 hours [or overnight] with
3 T cornmeal to get clams to dispel sand
1 full bunch chopped cilantro

Heat oil over medium flame. Add garlic, cook shaking pan twice. When golden after 3 minutes add hot red pepper flakes and white wine [it will boil immediately]. Add clams, [and I covered them at this point] and stir gently with a long-handled wooden spoon a couple of times until liquid boils again. Add the chopped cilantro, cover and cook, shaking pan, until clams open [about 4 minutes]. Ladle into bowls and serve.

Things happen very fast in this recipe, so be ready! The wine, for example, boils immediately, which surprised me.

Notes on the Clams

The clams must breathe! In an airtight container or bag they will die. Stored in fresh water they will die [they are sea creatures]. Best to store them dry in an open container in the fridge draped loosely with a pretty damp cloth or paper towel. Try to keep them at 32 degrees.

Clams need to be scrubbed clean before soaking with cornmeal. Those which don’t close when you’re scrubbing them, discard. They are dying or dead. Those which don’t open when cooked, throw them away. They are also very likely dead and can make a person very ill [or worse, expelled]. Discard clams with broken shells.

When comes the time to soak the clams with cornmeal, prepare your water first. Tap water needs to sit for a few hours to rid itself of chemicals which can kill your babies. Scrub the clams clean before soaking. Add salt with no iodine, seasalt preferably, to the water in a 1:10 ratio and add a few T cornmeal. Leave the clams soaking in the fridge 2-3 hours or overnight.

I bought my clams on a Friday night and cooked them one week later. 30 hours before cooking Jorge scrubbed them for me, then I soaked them. Couldn’t get to them before 30 hours had passed, but they were fine. I guess my sea-salt water was good for the little mollusks. After soaking, rinse out, drain, and cook! I used baby clams, by the way.

Success/Failure Notes

Tasted good, a nice light broth was produced – a little heavy on the oil element on the first go, so I reduced the amount called for [the recipe above shows the correct amount]. The clams’ texture was wonderful. Yielding but not buttery, firm but not chewy. Very heavenly, I’m glad I prepared this dish even though I hated to murder those adorable little sea creatures. Interestingly enough, once they were cooked I didn’t mind eating them at all.

C’est la vie, n’est pas? This dish is based on a recipe by Daisy Martinez of Puerto Rican cooking fame.