Sunday, July 26, 2015

Sauteed Manila Clams in White Wine and Coconut Water (serves 3)

I have heard of manila clams but I have never eaten any. Recently in Seattle, Washington I purchased five pounds of fresh clams from an Asian store in the International District. They are not only sweet and tender but also free of sand and grit! This dish turns out quite good especially with the sweet broth from the white wine and coconut water. I invited a Japanese colleague over to help us eat them. We agreed that this dish would also make a great entrée by adding any type of noodles or pasta. You may add a little salt if interested. However, I don't think it is necessary since the juice from the clams is plenty salty.

Sauteed Manila Clams in White Wine and Coconut Water (serves 3-4)

Ingredients:

3 Tbsp olive oil
5 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
1/2 medium white onion, chopped
2 tomatoes, deseeded and diced
1/2 to 1 cup white wine (use 1 cup if you prefer more broth)
1/2 to 1 cup coconut water (use 1 cup if you prefer more broth)
5 lbs manila clams, washed well in cold water
1/4 cup chopped Chinese chives
A few sprigs of cilantro, chopped
1 Tbsp lemon juice
Salt to taste (if interested)

Method:

1) Heat a large pan over medium high heat. Once the pan is hot add oil.
2) Add garlic and onion. Saute about 2 minutes or until the onion is soft.
3) Add tomatoes, wine, coconut water and clams. Turn heat a little higher until the liquid starts to boil. Cook, stir occasionally until the clams open up (about 5-7 minutes).
4) Add chives, cilantro and season with salt if interested. Stir and remove from heat.

*If you prefer less broth then add about 1/2 cup of white wine and 1/2 cup of coconut water instead. If you want to add salt, add only after all the clams have opened up. Give it a taste and then add salt according to your taste. Avoid cooking too long after they opened up as this will make them tough and chewy.

manila clams on ice
(Pike Place Market, Seattle, WA, 2015)
after hours at Pike Place Market (Seattle, WA, 2015)
*As much as I enjoy watching the bustling activity at Pike Place Market during the day I almost prefer the peacefulness after hours. I wonder where the vendors keep all their supplies??

Geoduck in Ponzu Seasoning (makes 1-2 appetizers)



I still have some fresh geoduck left and was feeling a bit lazy for cooking. I decided to make another simple dish using ponzu seasoning. The ponzu seasoning came in a bottle. I washed and air dried the geoduck shells and used them as a dish. The presentation makes the dish taste even better and more interesting to eat! Check out the link on How to Clean and Prepare a Geoduck.

Ingredients:

3/4 cup thinly sliced fresh geoduck (see above link on how to clean and prepare geoduck)
1 Tbsp ponzu seasoning
A few sprigs of chives, chopped

Method:

Mix geoduck and ponzu seasoning together. Garnish with chives.




 *Above are a few photos of the Space Needle (Seattle, 2015).

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Chives and Hawaiian Sea Salt Geoduck (serves 1-2 appetizers)


I had thinly sliced geoduck with soy sauce and wasabi at a restaurant/market. The portion was tiny and it was dried and tough. I was determined to buy a fresh one and make it myself. The result was surprising, quite tender and sweet. Even my husband complimented that my geoduck appetizers were better prepared. Initially my husband was worried that I had too high an expectation for the geoduck. He did not see why I want to pay for an overpriced "sea worm", an actual term he used. He said he prefers the German house-made sausages found all over Seattle. By the end of the trip he actually ate more geoduck than me. After his work meeting he was taken out to a Japanese restaurant where one dish consisted of 2 thick slices of geoduck placed over seasoned rice wrapped in seaweed. He was amazed the thicker pieces were tender.

Here is a simple geoduck dish with salt from Hawaii and chives from my garden that I carried all the way from New Hampshire to Washington State! Well, I just did not want to waste my home-grown herbs! Check out the link: How to Clean and Prepare a Geoduck.

Chives and Hawaiian Sea Salt Geoduck (serves 1-2 appetizers)

Ingredients

About 2 Tbsp lime juice or about 1 small lime
About 1 cup fresh thinly sliced geoduck (see link above for cleaning and preparing geoduck)
A few small pinches of crushed pink Hawaiian sea salt
A few sprigs of snipped chives

Method

Drizzle the lime juice over the geoduck. Mix the 2 ingredients gently. Top with sea salt and chives.

night view from our rental studio in Seattle (2015)
Alki Point Lighthouse and Mt. Rainier (2015)
sailing by Mt. Rainier (2015)

How to Clean and Prepare a Geoduck

Before I left for Seattle, Washington for the 9th Japan-USA Nurse Reunion I was determined to search for a source where these giant clams known as geoduck (pronounced gooey duck) are sold. I wanted to purchase them live but also at a reasonable price. At a well known restaurant and market in Seattle they were going for $38/pound. However, I tasted their geoduck sashimi appetizer prepared with soy sauce and a little wasabi; it was disappointing, my husband and I thought it was dry and a bit tough. I headed to the International District (in Seattle) and found live ones at $18/pound. The sales person was able to quickly pull out a plump and healthy looking one for me. I never in my life paid $45 for a clam before but this is probably my only opportunity to prepare a live one. From what I read these clams were $6/pound several years ago, and now are being exported to Asia for a much higher price. Perhaps the next time I am in Seattle I will not be able to afford them. I find that the tastiest preparation of this geoduck is to keep it simple. When they are fresh they are best as sashimi or ceviche style.

here is a 2.5 pounds of geoduck (pronounced "gooey duck")
This geoduck is easy to prepare. Just keep it on ice until you get home. Since I paid so much money for mine I basically ran back to my temporary home! You can leave it in the refrigerator on ice. Be sure to let it breath by keeping the bag partially open. It is best to prepare it as soon as you get it home. I was not able to do that due to a busy reunion schedule but it was still good the next day, although it shrank some when the liquid leaked out. Dip the whole geoduck in hot boiling water for about 10 seconds to remove the skin of the siphon.


I cut the siphon (I prefer to call it a trunk but it is also known as the neck for some people) at the base (next to the shell).


 Remove the skin from the siphon (see above).


Next slide a sharp knife along the shell and gently remove the body. Remove the skin from the body.

  
Remove and discard the stomach contents, saving the mantle and the outer part of the stomach (if interested). I just remove the stomach contents and keep the rest. Because I was not able to eat everything in one day I placed the body in a plastic bag and kept it in the freezer for use later.


I cut the siphon lengthwise into one butterfly-like fillet.



Once cut, wash the siphon well to remove any sand or dirt.


Once cleaned cut the siphon according to your needs. If sliced thinly the pieces will curl up and this indicates freshness. Our bus driver who grew up in Washington and is an avid fisherman tells me he never buys seafood. He harvests them himself. He thought the siphon was tough so he uses a mallet to tenderize it. I find that fresh thin slices are tender and do not require this process.

*Be careful not to cut yourself on the sharp edges of the shell. Use gloves to protect yourself.