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Clams don’t have good press do they? Clammed up. Closed like a clam. Clammy hands. Quite a repulsive picture there, totally undeserved, because they are the nicest little sea things, much tastier than whelks or sea snails, easier to prep and cook than mussels.
Linguni alla vongole – poetry on a plate. But clams are just as good only with a bit of crusty bread. Swimming in garlic sauce – the best. Here’s how.
They don’t need scrubbing like mussels do – clean little animals. The best tip to store them is to release them from the nasty plastic bag, if, like me, that’s how you get them from the fishmonger. Rinse them well in cold water and put them in a bowl, covered with a wet paper towel – they will keep like this for a day or two, obviously the longer you keep them, the more casualties you’re going to have: the ones that don’t close when tapped against the sink, and the ones that won’t open when cooked.
Cook them with plenty of garlic and white wine – only the best for the little creatures, same as what YOU would want. And then – off they go into spaghetti or linguine, or soup or chowder, or just as a splendid dish of little morsels of saltiness (am I turning into Nigella???) with the juices mopped by some good bread, preferably home baked that morning.
- ½ kg clams
- 50g butter
- 5-6 cloves of garlic
- 100ml vermouth or sherry
- 100ml dry white wine
- 1tsp concentrated beef stock or ½ stock cube
First clean the clams, they are much easier to prepare than mussels – just rinse them well with cold water, place in a bowl and if not using straight away, cover the bowl with a wet paper towel and refrigerate.
Prepare the sauce: melt the butter in a heave bottomed pan, press the garlic into the butter when it’s foaming and let it cook for a minute or two. When boiling vigorously, pour in the sherry or vermouth, a splash of beef stock and the white wine. Let it cook down considerably on high heat.
Throw the clams into the sauce, cover with a lid and cook for a couple of minutes, shaking the pan every now and then. They’re ready when they’ve all opened. Discard the ones that haven’t opened.