Miso Clams

Wait! Before you dismiss this post as something that you would never make let me make the guarantee that clams are one of the easiest dinners that you could possibly prepare. Really, truly, honestly. And they are not scary and they are definitely delicious.

If you buy your clams from a local fishmonger, they will be pretty clean but a little extra attention will ensure that your meal is grit free. Just before cooking, I put my clams in a large bowl and fill with cold water. I move them around a bit and then remove the clams from the bowl with a strainer (spider), empty the bowl and repeat a couple of times until the water left in the bowl is clean. Then for the final time, in the bowl, under running water, I rub handfuls of clams together, hard enough to scrub them but not too hard as to break the shells, and do a final rinse, soak and removal. This sounds like a long process but truly it takes less than 5 minutes. Just stop when the water left in the bowl is residue free.

Now you are ready to make your cooking liquid. This one has an Asian spin so sake is the base ingredient, in other versions the base is white wine or even broth. With the base simmering, the aromatics are added and the alcohol is cooked off. It is at this point that you add your clams, cover and cook for 5 minutes (maybe giving a shake of the pan midway through to promote even cooking). When the time is up, you lift the lid, check to see that the great majority of the clams are opened (there will usually be a couple that don’t open and those should be discarded; if there are more than a couple, put the lid back on and cook for a minute more). And then, just like that, dinner is ready! Regardless of the specific recipe, clams are best served with lots of their cooking liquid in individual shallow bowls, with a fork for eating, a spoon for slurping and bread for plenty of dipping. Enjoy!

Miso Clams

Miso Clams
Serves 2
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Ingredients
  1. 3 lbs fresh littleneck clams
  2. 6 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  3. 1 (5-inch) piece of fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  4. 3 cups sake (can purchase an inexpensive bottle at liquor store)
  5. 4 Tbls (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  6. 4 Tbls white miso, dissolved in 3 Tbls very hot water
  7. 6 scallions, thinly sliced
  8. fresh baguette, sliced
Instructions
  1. Clean clams.*
  2. Combine the garlic, ginger and sake in a heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven and bring to a simmer.
  3. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes until the aromatics have flavored the sake and most of the alcohol has cooked off.
  4. Add the clams, cover the pot and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the shells have opened.
  5. Add butter and dissolved miso and stir to combine.
  6. Garnish with the scallions and serve in shallow bowls with a sliced baguette.
Notes
  1. *Put clams in a large bowl and fill with cold water. Move them around a bit and then remove the clams from the bowl with a strainer (spider), empty the bowl and repeat a couple of times until the water left in the bowl is clean. Then for the final time, in the bowl, under running water, rub handfuls of clams together, hard enough to scrub them but not too hard as to break the shells, and do a final rinse, soak and removal.
Adapted from It's All Easy: Gwyneth Paltrow
Adapted from It's All Easy: Gwyneth Paltrow
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