Clams on the Half Shell

Oh, come on.  Clams on the Half Shell?  Who came up with this silly list, anyway?  Are we stuck in the 1970s?

Baked clams?  Ugh!  Baked rubber!  There will be no baked clams.  Sorry, folks.  Instead, what about a really easy, really gourmet dinner?

Here’s the deal. Sunday sucked.  First, on Saturday we had a really, really fun time playing the “First Annual Bar Golf Tournament” on the new Vancouver Canada Line (kind of like a subway line but different, for all of you non-Vancouverites).  Then on Sunday I got up, ran 15 km (training for a half marathon), then worked for several hours!

Working on Sunday sucks.

Generally, the rule in our house is, if one of us works on a Sunday, the other one makes dinner.  No questions asked – it’s just the way it is.  Except.  Jimbo Jones may have had a little more to drink at the Bar Golf Tournament than I did.  Okay, a lot more.  So, Jimbo Jones did NOT do the 15 km training run with me as planned, but more importantly, did NOT make me dinner.

* SIGH *

So, instead, I picked up 2 lbs of clams on the way home.  And when I got home, I made linguine vongole. So easy, only about half an hour out of my life (prep included).  So delicious.  So hit-the-hangover-hungries-spot, if you ask Jim.  The best part about this recipe is the clam nectar, cooked right into the pasta.  Divine.  Really, try it.

What I did not do is bake clams on the half shell.

Linguine Vongole

not baked

Do the prep first:

  • Scrub 2 lbs of fresh clams [remember, when you pick them up they’re swimming in a clammy pool with other clams, some of which are dead.  They generally have a little bit of moss or at least mud still stuck to them.  You do not want that crap in your pasta].
  • Chop up 5 cloves of garlic, 1/2 a sweet onion, 3 Tbsp or so of fresh parsley [I prefer flat-leaf, hands down, but T&T only had curly].
  • Zest 1 & juice 1 lemon.
  • Have on hand chili flakes and a nice white wine [some for drinking; some for cooking with].

Then,

  • Pour a glass of wine. Drink some.
  • Start a huge pot of water on high heat to boil.  Throw in a generous handful or two of table salt [sea salt apparently challenges the composition of pasta for some reason unknown to me and makes it mushy].
  • table salt is best

    Meanwhile, pour 2 tsp or so olive oil into your biggest sauté pan (over medium heat) and add 2 tsp butter.   Sautée the garlic and onions just a few minutes until translucent.  Add the lemon juice, lemon zest, and a goodly portion of white wine (about 3/4 C).  Simmer for a few minutes until the alcohol-y smell of the wine wanders off.

  • Add a couple of generous pinches of chili flakes and some salt.  At this point, it’s okay to use fleur de sel.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch:

  • When the water comes to a boil, add dried linguine (I used about 2/3 box for this recipe).
  • Add the clams to the wine/onions/garlic and cover.
  • Top up your wine [don’t tell me you don’t need to.  You’re lying].
  • Drain the pasta when it’s quite al dente.  For whole-wheat linguine, this is about 8-9 minutes.
  • The clams should be open by now.  Toss the noodles in with the clams.  Stir well, simmer for another couple of minutes, until some of the delicious broth is absorbed into the noodles.

    stir the pasta into the clams

  • Plate, top with grated parmesan and serve.
  • Maybe with some caprese salad.

    maybe some caprese salad

~ Eva

P.S.  Yes, I too noticed it’s been a bit of a pasta-themed month for me.  Happens.  Pasta is fairly easy, and quite delicious.  It makes me happy.  It should make you happy too.  No apologies, but I will try to get more creative in the coming months!

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