Blimey.. A bit of a posting week this one.
So, clam linguine. I reckon pretty much everyone has eaten some form of this dish, somewhere. Clams and pasta, in a wine broth. To be honest, there isn’t really much there that can go wrong!!
Clam Linguine has always been one of Danika’s favorite dishes, so it has ended up that I have eaten my fair share. I have had some really good, and some stonkingly bad ones too. One restaurant that I actually really highly regard, but shall remain nameless, did such a bad version of it, we couldn’t eat it. I swear there was two sticks of butter in it. It was completely gross. It also tasted like no alcohol had been burnt off at all. Buttery wine if you will.
Anyhow, enough of the bad.. I originally made up my own clam linguine recipe a year or so ago when I was trying to get the Wrightfood cookbook published (for the latest story on that, feel free to email me). I haven’t cooked it a great deal since then to be honest. Danika was off shellfish when she was pregnant with Drake, and I haven’t actually cooked it since.
So. What makes mine different? Well, this is really very light. The butter is kept to a minimum. I don’t use canned/jar clams to bolster the dish up a bit. Clams come in a shell, not a jar. I also don’t like too much spice in mine. I have eaten a few clam linguine dishes out that have just had waaaaaay too many red pepper flakes in it for my taste. I am sensitive to spice – a little goes a long way for me.
This is really just me playing around with a classic dish, and making it how I like it. The flavors here come from wine, aromatics, herbs, and some great clams. A final sprinkle of red pepper flakes is great, so too is a little parmesan if you are feeling sassy.
And where does one find good clams in Seattle? Drum roll.. Mutual Fish of course! Well duh. You kinda knew I was going to say that. My favorite seafood provider by a country mile. With clams in hand, this dish is really a snap to make – perfect for a quick weeknight, where you want something that tastes like you have been in the kitchen for an hour, but you haven’t.
So, without further ado, here is the recipe.
50(ish) manilla clams
1/2 cup red onion – chopped
1/2 cup shallots – chopped
2 cloves of garlic – chopped
small handful of fresh thyme leaves – coarsely chopped
small handful of fresh oregano leaves – coarsely chopped
1 decent sized glass of dry white wine
1 small handful of basil and parsley (1 small handful total) – chopped
1/2 cup of either clam juice or chicken stock
red pepper flakes
grated parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon of butter
Get a large pot of water boiling for the pasta.
Start by cleaning the clams. Run each clam under cold water, and gently scrub with a brush. If the shell is broken, or the clam is open and doesn’t close up when you touch it – lob it out. Repeat for all clams.
Get a large, high sided sauté pan over a medium heat. Add a splash of olive oil, and get it hot. Add the onions, shallots, thyme and oregano. Cook slowly for 5 minutes, until the vegetables have softened. Add the garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes.
Add the linguine to the boiling pasta water, and cook according to package directions.
Crank up the heat to high, and add the glass of white wine. Let this cook down by about half – until the alcohol smell has gone. Gently add the clams, and stir to combine. Put a lid on the pan. Let this cook for a minimum of 3 minutes. We are steaming the clams open in the wine. You might be able to hear the clams opening. After 3 minutes, take the lid off the pan and check out the clams. If 95% of em aren’t open, put the lid back on, and let it cook for another couple of minutes.
When most of the clams are open, add in the butter and stock/clam juice. Gently mix to combine. Add a sprinkling of red pepper flakes, and the parsley and basil.
To serve – divide the pasta between two plates. Top with the clams. Pour the pan broth/juices over both plates. Top with a little grated parmesan if you wish.
Serve with a side bowl/cup to put the clam shells in.