Sunday, February 17, 2013

Clam with Lemon Pepper Pappardelle Pasta (serves 2)


Mike Anderson, fisherman and owner of Rimrack gave me a large bag full of these hard shell mollusks known as mahogany clams (also called black clam, golden neck, ocean quahog) to try.  He said he is interested in what I can come up using these--I take that as a challenge.  When I saw them I had a few vague ideas.  They are tasty even just steamed with or without a dip, although I prefer to dip the steamed clams in a mixture of lemon juice, pepper and a little salt.  When Mike gave me the live clams he said the shelf life for these are not long--good for up to three days.  I kept them in my refrigerator overnight.  The next day I scrubbed them clean and boiled them.  I removed the shells and cleaned out their stomach contents which was all green.  They must feed strictly on sea vegetation since there was no hint of sand.  I kept some of the clam meat in the freezer and some in the refrigerator.  Today I was inspired to make a dish using these beautiful tasty clams.  Thank you Mike and Rimrack for these delicious treats!!

1 package (8 oz) Trader Joe's Lemon Pepper Pappardelle Pasta (or whichever pasta you prefer or have available)
1 T olive oil (optional)
1 sliced bacon or pancetta, chopped (about 1/3 C chopped)
1/3 C chopped scallions
2 chopped garlic cloves
1/4 C chopped onion
1/4 t dried thyme
1 C julienned white button mushrooms
1 C diced clam (about 10 hard shell clams)
1 C clam juice or pasta water (or a mixture of 1/2 C white wine and 1/2 C clam juice or pasta water)
2 t Better Than Bouillon lobster base
2 pinches of sea salt
White pepper to taste
Lemon wedge (garnish)

Method:

1) Boil the clams in water, partially covering the pot for about 10 minutes or until the clams opens up.
2) Drain the water (reserve some for cooking later) and let the clams cool completely.  Remove the shells and the stomach contents if interested (I prefer to clean them out even though these clams eat mostly sea grass/seaweed).
3) Chop the clams and set it aside.
4) Cook the pasta in water as directed on the package and set aside (or you can cook the pasta while you are cooking the clam sauce).
5) In a large non-stick pan add the oil, bacon, scallions, garlic, onion, and thyme.  Saute for 1 minute.
6) Add mushrooms and saute for 1 minute.
7) Add clam juice or pasta water.  Stir occasionally and cook for about 5-6 minutes.
8) Stir in pasta, clam, lobster base, sea salt and pepper.  Cook for 1 minute and remove from heat.
9) Serve with a wedge of lemon garnish.

*I prefer to squeeze some lemon juice and add a little white pepper to the dish right before I eat.  Delicious!!  If you are using plain pasta then add about 1 T of  lemon juice, lemon zest and extra pepper to the pan in the last 1 minute of cooking. 

these hard shell mahogany clams are black and have a
distinct white color at the hinge
cooked and chopped clam meat

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