Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Clams Posillipo reminds me of City Island where I grew up. As you are approaching City Island by bus or by car, the smell of the salty air hits you. For me it’s the smell of nostalgic days fishing and swimming in the bay. For most other people the briny scent evokes an appetite. There are a myriad of restaurants on the strip. The best restaurant on the mile and half long stretch is by far, Arties Steak & Seafood. This is where I first encountered one of the most delicious clam preparations. You don’t see clams garner much fuss in restaurants today. There’s always a raw selection of clams or baked clams or clams casino, but never much more than that. Posillipo is a neighborhood in Naples, Italy where this dish originates from and raises the clam up on high. The acidy and the buttery flavors play in your taste buds and the herbal notes add a distinctive harmony.
Clams and mussels are so simple to cook. Some butter, some shallots, some herbs and presto! Throw in a slice of bread for dunking or linguine and there’s a dinner that takes less than 20 minutes to make.
1Lb Littleneck Clams
1 Clove Garlic, Chopped
3/4 Cup Dry White Wine
½ Cup Water
½ Shallot, diced fine
3 Tbls Butter
4 Sprigs of Oregano, coarse chop
6 Large Basil Leaves, cut in a chiffonade
½ Cup Cherry Tomatoes, sliced in half
½ Lemon, Juiced
1. In a covered boiling pot add water, 1 Tbls of butter, white wine and ½ of your measured garlic. Bring to a simmer and add the clams. Cover and cook for 2-3 minutes. Take the clams out and put them in a bowl, cover so they stay warm.
2. Strain the clam liquid through a fine mesh sieve to remove any sediment that may have been left on the clams. Clean out the pot you just cooked the clams in and pour the strained liquid back into it. Add the rest of the butter and throw in the tomatoes, shallots oregano and the rest of the garlic. Cook for 5 minutes on medium-high heat.
3. Reintroduce the clams into the mixture. Add the basil and lemon. Cook for 1 minute more. Enjoy the buttery and briny fragrance then Mangia!
*Shrimp are a great addition to this dish. If you add them, do so with their shells on when you start to cook the clams. After the clams are cooked and set aside, deshell the shrimp. Wrap the shells in cheesecloth and cook the shrimp with the clams for a bit longer, as they take more time to cook. Cook the shells with the broth until ready to eat.