Now that the holidays are behind us and we start a new year filled with resolutions to make this a better year, eating well is most often on the top of every checklist. It's well known that fresh fish and seafood are good tasting as well as good for you. It cooks up in minutes so if serving with any type of pasta, start the water boiling while you prepare the meal.
Look for the smallest and freshest clams you can find. I buy mine from Randazzo's Fish Market on Arthur Avenue in the Belmont section of the Bronx. It is worth the trip and the holiday crowds have subsided by now. My son, Vincent, has his own secrets of how to cook this dish and it comes out perfect all the time.
Soak clams in a large bowl of cold salted water for about an hour to draw out any sand. Wash them thoroughly before proceeding then drain in a colander.
While at Arthur Avenue, don't forget to pick up a round Pane de Casa or other Italian crusty bread to sop up the brothy juices. I usually shop at Madonia Bakery, but all the bakeries are great!
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 cup dry white wine or dry Vermouth
3 cups canned imported Italian tomatoes with their juice, put through a
strainer or food mill to remove the seeds
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons of butter or extra virgin olive oil
4 pounds clams, the smallest you can get, thoroughly washed in several
changes of water
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and the parsley and cook, stirring, until the garlic begins to color, about 1 minute. Raise the heat to high and add the wine. Cook and stir until the wine is reduced by half, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium and cook, stirring, 4 to 5 minutes. Season the sauce with salt and several grinds of pepper.
Add the clams and cover the saucepan. Cook just until the clams open, 2 to 3 minutes. (Discard any clams that do not open.) Taste and adjust the seasoning. Add the finishing touch of butter or extra virgin olive oil and serve hot with good, crusty Italian bread or with your choice of al dente pasta such as Linguine. Makes 4 servings
Cook’s Note: To test for freshness: if a clam or mussel shell is open, squeeze the top and bottom shell together. If it stays closed, it is still alive but if it remains open it is dead and needs to be discarded.
Mussels can be used instead of or with the clams. Substitute with your favorite long thin pasta. For gluten-free, rice noodles are very nice with this light dish. Buon Appetito from Amelia's Kitchen
The Greenwich Adult Continuing Ed Spring Catalogue is out. See the schedule and register for the new Spring series, "The Secrets of Italian Cooking" classes at www.greenwichace.com/coursecatalog