maandag 15 november 2010

Steamed Clams and Mussels With Pasta

Buy your live clams and mussels at a market you trust. Important: if the clam or mussel shells are open, tap them lightly. If they do not close, throw them out.

When you buy them, ask your grocer to check to make sure they are all alive - this will save you having to throw many away when you get home.

Still, some may die between the market and your home. If you have a long way to drive, get ice from the grocer to keep them cool.

It takes a little time to prepare the clams and mussels properly. Obviously this recipe calls for fresh and live clams and mussels.

Soak the clams in about a gallon of cold water with 1/2 cup dissolved Kosher salt along with 1 cup cornmeal for 1 hour (Do not use anything but Kosher salt because iodine may kill the clams while they soak). This will remove grit and sand from the clams.

Scrub the clams in cold water with a vegetable brush to clean them. With the mussels, make sure you rinse them several times before scrubbing. The mussels do not need to be soaked, but they must be scrubbed and their "beard" removed. You can simply grab the beard with your fingers and forcefully pull it off.

It is important not to overcook the clams or mussels, because they become rubbery. Use the following recipe to cook them.

Clam and mussel ingredients for steaming (5 servings):

3 tablespoons - butter
1 - small onion, chopped
3 cloves - garlic, minced
1/2 cup - Italian parsley, chopped
1/2 teaspoon - red pepper flakes
1/4 cup - extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup - dry white wine (e.g., chardonnay)

In a large Dutch oven, melt the butter and saute the onion and garlic until they are soft.

Add the parsley, red pepper, oil, and wine and bring to a boil slowly.

Place the clams and mussels in the pan, cover, and steam on low heat for about 8 minutes or until clams and mussels open.

Use tongs to transfer to a bowl. Throw away any clams or mussels that do not open. Reserve sauce.

Boil one pound of spaghetti or linguine in salted water until cooked. Place a serving on each dish and spoon sauce over the pasta. Place the mussels and clams around the pasta and serve.

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