Sunday, September 18, 2011

Scarborough Fair Part Four--Pasta with White Clam sauce and a lot of parsley

You can't grow up in New England and not eat clams. Fried, baked, casino, steamed in wine, steamed in beer. It's hard to pick a favorite. I do love a good fried clam platter--crunchy outside, chewy necks inside, bellies that melt in your mouth. On the other, and theoretially healthier foot, there are some adaptations that won't send your cholesterol through the roof.

Nobody taught me how to make clam sauce, I've perfected this over the years and for the first time, have the measurements. The following serves 2 and should be easily scalable for more:

  • Your favorite pasta--for clams, I like linguine, but thinner will do.
  • One small can of clams (the ones that are the size of your average tuna can)
  • Juice of half a large lemon (1/4 to 1/2 cup)
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine (I used a Pinot Grigio. This is not a place for Chardonay)
  • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley (not packed)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped or pressed
  • black pepper to taste
  • salt to taste
  • 1 T olive oil

Put pasta water on to boil. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat, add the chopped garlic and stir to coat. When garlic starts making sizzling noises, open the can of clams and add everything, including the juice to the pan. Reduce the heat to medium low and stir frequently until the broth begins to bubble. Add salt & pepper, the lemon juice and the wine, reduce heat to low.

Drain the pasta and return to the pot or to a large bowl. Pour the clam broth over the pasta and mix well. Some of the liquid will be absorbed, but not all. Add the parsley and toss well. Serve with remaining wine.

How do you like your clams? Comments? Questions? Let's hear them!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Yep, out of cumin

I wouldn't say cumin is my favorite spice, but it's definitely up there. I use it in a wide variety of dishes from equally wide areas of the world. It features heavily in my chili, in curries, it's wonderful in fajitas or black bean soup, or gyros. 

I had a half-pound pork loin, leftover rice (we almost always have leftover rice) and a can of black beans. To turn this into a meal:

After preheating the oven to 375 F, into a medium-sized bowl went:

  • juice of one lime
  • 2 T olive oil
  • almost 1T of cumin
  • one shake of chili powder
  • one shake of cayenne
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • dash of sea salt
Stir well until all ingredients are combined. Add pork loin to bowl and coat thoroughly. I mushed it around for about two minutes. Move pork to a foil-lined roasting pan and cover with remaining liquid. Roast for about 45 minutes or until pork is no longer pink in the center.

While the pork was roasting, I emptied the black beans into a small saucepan and added:

  • a dash of white wine vinegar
  • half a small onion, chopped
  • two jalapenos, chopped
  • a tablespoon of salsa
I let that simmer until the pork was done, then spooned the beans over the rice. Optional toppings include sour cream or some shredded cheddar.

No pictures this time, we were a little too hungry for that and it went very quickly.

What do you like to do with cumin? Other questions? Comments? I'd love to hear from you.