Friday, March 25, 2016

Linguine and Steamers (serves 3-4)

This is a pasta and steamers (also known as soft-shell clams) dish that I make about 2-3 times per year when I feel like eating it. Most of the time I eat the clams fresh out of a pot when they are still tongue burning hot! I seldom cook with canned foods but I do have a stock of them in my basement for end of the world doomsday, a bad winter storm, a cold rainy day or just plain lazy day. This time I am making it because it is a rainy, cold, and lazy day! I do like to add a few extra ingredients to this dish such as fresh cooked whole steamers (or clams), garlic, onion and some kind of vegetable to make it more nutritious and satisfying. I prefer to use the baby arugula since I like the taste and the leaves do not get mushy when cooked. I always reserve the steamers' broth to use for cooking. Fresh broth is so much better since it is very sweet and tasty (not to mention cleaner and healthier) in comparison to store bought. I like to save any unused broth in a container or bottle and store it in the freezer for another day. You can compost the shells, black covering and siphon tips. As long as I could remember my mother has always composted all of her seafood shells in her backyard in Maine. She believes her garden soil is rich and full of nutrients from decades of composting!

steamed clam with black covering removed and tip of siphon cut
cooked plump looking steamers (or clams)

Linguine and Steamers (serves 3-4)

Ingredients:

About 3 lbs steamers (soft-shell clams), washed well, steamed, removed the clams from their shells, reserved the clean broth
2 tsp oil
4 garlic cloves, smashed and finely chopped
1/2 medium sweet onion, finely chopped
1 can (15 oz) Italian Style White Clam Sauce (made with fresh clams)
1 package of fresh baby arugula (7 oz)
1 lb of cooked linguine (or any type of pasta you prefer), follow the package instruction on how to cook if you use store bought dried pasta
1 1/2 cups clam broth
About a Tbsp of dry parsley (half goes into the pan and the other half to garnish each serving plate)
A drizzle of przyprawa w plynie (Maggi brand) on each serving plate prior to eating if interested

Method:

1) Steam the steamers (clams) with a little water (about 1 1/2 cups) until they are just cooked (about 5-6 minutes). I use a little metal pot with a metal basket insert that my mother gave me. Once cooked the shells will open up. Remove the clam from its shells. Pull away the black skin covering and discard it. I also cut off a little of the tip of the siphon or neck with kitchen shears and discard it. After this I hold the siphon and dip the whole clam in its broth to get rid of any extra sand or grits. Once the broth settled then pour the broth to a clean container and discard what's on the bottom (usually sand, shell bits, or grits).
2) Heat a large pan over medium high heat. Add oil. Once the oil is hot add garlic and onion. Saute for about 2 minutes or until the onion is soft.
3) Add the can of clam sauce. Add a handful of arugula at a time to the pan. Add more when the batch inside the pan has somewhat wilted. Stir a few times. Continue to add the arugula until all of it is in the pan. Once wilted the leaves will shrink by a lot. This will take about 2-3 minutes.
4) Add the pasta and broth. Stir until everything is incorporated well and heated through. Add the clams, stir and turn off heat.
5) Crumble about half of the dried parsley into the pan.
6) May season with salt to taste if interested. I prefer to drizzle a little of the przyprawa w plynie and a little of the crumbled parsley on the serving dish right before eating.

*The przyprawa w plynie (Maggi brand) came from a Polish store in Dorchester, Massachusetts. It looks like soy sauce but it is not. However, you may use light soy sauce for substitution instead if interested. My Polish-American friend and former nursing colleague Monika tells me this sauce is commonly used on soups specifically chicken soups.

you may compost the shells,
black covering and siphon tips

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