Oh, yes I love Clams! They are the perfect low-fat and low-calorie food. They are so delicious and it’s always an enjoyment to eat them.
Here in Italy it is a very common and delicate dish. They are fresh everyday from the fisherman that go out in the middle of the night and then sell them or at the fish markets or the fish stores. They are a very summer thing to eat and as soon as Spring comes it’s one of the first thing Italians are out to eat. The more common and known way to eat them would be “Spaghetti or Tagliolini alle Vongole” which means “Spaghetti or Tagliolini with Clams”, but here in Italy it is also very common to have them served in a light wine sauce with toasted bread on the side to dip in and do the “Scarpetta”. Clams are one of the simplest things to cook and require basically no time at all.
I’ll explain the way to clean them so that you too at home can make them.
First of you want to buy them fresh. Rinse them real quick under cold water. Grab a tray that has edges, I normally use one of my larger baking trays (like the one I use for Lasagna), lay the clams evenly (don’t worry if they are a bit over layered) and fill with cold water just about 1/2 an inch above your clams. Sprinkle with abundant sea salt, shake the tray around a bit and let sit for about 3-4 hours. (You can let sit over night as well, just remember the longer the better).
What the salt water does is help the clams spit out the sand that they might have inside. They basically clean themselves, this is the only way to get rid of any sand they might have in them. If you look at them during this process you will see them open and spit out the sand or move around; it’s quite interesting.
Once the time has passed you can grab a handful of the clams and throw them in a plate, shake up and down a few times, and then put in a bowl or colander. This method helps them spit out anything left. (don’t worry if they don’t spit out anything) that means that they are perfectly clean. Rinse once more real quick under cold water and they are ready for cooking.
Here’s the recipe. I hope that you enjoy.
1 lb Vongole Veraci (Clams), cleaned
1 Garlic Clove, Minced or Whole
1/4 cup White Wine
Red Chili Flakes (optional)
3 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Handful chopped Parsley
Grab a nice large sauté pan put over medium heat with the olive oil (I like the garlic whole, but if you are mincing it that’s delicious also), once the oil is heated add you garlic and chili flakes allow to get just golden and throw in your Vongole (Clams) with the wine. Cover and let them cook about 10 minutes. You will know once they are ready because they will all be open. Turn off heat and throw in your parsley mix gently and serve*. Tata, Buon Appetito!
* I serve in bowls or deep plates I put the vongole first and then I add all the remaining sauce.
Okay, now this dish I accompany with toasted bread or bruschetta. The other night I made bruschetta to go along. But do what you wish. Enjoy