I love living in the Pacific Northwest.
I’m a lucky gal. We have family that lives along a Puget Sound inlet. So……….. we are clam eaters. (Get your head out of the gutter you guys!)
Winter is one of the best times for these littleneck clams around here. We just head out on the beach in rubber boots during low tide, do a bit of digging, and BAM – a meal for the next day has already begun it’s course.
A few things to keep in mind when digging for clams.
1. You want your clams to be slightly smaller than the palm of your hand. Inspect the shells for any holes or cracks.
2. Let them sit in their own salt water for about 4 hours, allowing them to “spit” a lot of sand out of the shell. Transfer to fresh water, and allow them to filter for another 20 hours, filtering for 24 hours total.
3. Before cooking or preparing to eat, scrub the shells with a rag to get all the dirt and sand off.
You know, we normally stick to just cooking clams in a skillet with lots of butter, garlic, and white wine until they open up. Then serve them with garlic bread and the broth. This time though, we wanted to get a little fancy. I followed a recipe by Chilean chef, Gerardo Valenzuela. This recipe is a bit time consuming, but pretty damn awesome.
- 1/2 cup water
- 24 littleneck clams filtered and scrubbed
- Kosher salt
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 2 Tablespoons dry white wine
- 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Freshly ground pepper
- 2 Tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 2 teaspoons chopped thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
In a large pot, bring the water to a boil. Add the clams, cover and steam over high heat until they open, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the clams to a platter to cool.
Preheat the broiler and position a rack 6 inches from the heat. Spread 1/4 inch of kosher salt in an even layer on a small rimmed baking sheet. Remove and discard the top shells of the clams. Carefully loosen the clams in the bottom shells and set them on the salt.
In a small bowl, whisk the cream with the wine and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Top each clam with 1 teaspoon of the cream mixture and sprinkle with the cheese and thyme. Broil for about 3 minutes, until the cheese is melted. Garnish with the lemon zest and serve.
Recipe: Clams broiled with lemon, thyme, and parmesan by Gerardo Valenzuela