Saturday, August 4, 2018

Clams and Garlic Sauce (w/pasta)

Friday nights are usually pasta night in our family. (It is the Italian in us) Hearty and rich in the cold months, light and fresh in the hot summer and early fall. This recipe for clams and garlic sauce is perfect each month of the year.

Fresh clams, garlic (lots!), extra virgin olive oil, a bit of lemon, dash of spicy red pepper flakes, and freshness from parsley & seasonings, merge together to produce a dish that is wonderful on its own...try piling in large bowls and eating with good Italian or sourdough bread dipped in the delicious broth, or served tossed with  pasta.  My husband could eat this once a week.

In season, I make this with garlic scapes from the farmer's market. The rest of the year, fat garlic cloves are the way to go. Italian parsley is easy to grow, so I am able to "shop" my garden 8 months of the year. I think the key to this dish is, as always, the best, freshest ingredients possible. This is especially important with the clams. Buy them alive, store properly, and use within (max! ) three days of purchase. I tend to use them on the day I buy.

Buon appetito!

Clams & Garlic Sauce (w/pasta)
(Serves 4)

4 dozen littleneck clams
1/2 cup coarse cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic scapes (or 4 fat cloves garlic), minced
2 shallots, chopped
1/2 cup white wine
1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon saffron
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 cup bottled clam juice
1/2 cup Italian parsley, chopped & divided

1 lb long noodle pasta. I prefer bucatini.

Place the clams in a large bowl and sprinkle the cornmeal and salt over the top. Cover with water. Soak for 45 minutes, drain and rinse. (This process removes any grit and sand in the clams.)

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the scapes (or garlic), and shallots and saute until soft. Add the drained clams, wine, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, paprika, saffron and black pepper. Bring to a boil, cover, and cook until clams open, stirring occasionally. Remove clams as they open and place in a bowl. Discard any unopened clams.

Meanwhile, prepare pasta according to package directions. Drain and keep warm in a colander.

When all clams have been removed from pan, add clam juice and all but 1 tablespoon of parsley.  Keep heat on high and cook garlic sauce for 2-3 minutes or until reduced by half. Taste and add additional salt if needed. Add pasta and clams and stir to combine. Ensure all of the pasta and clams are coated with sauce.

Divide between 4 plates. Garnish with remaining parsley and serve immediately.

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Some other garlic and garlic scape recipes to enjoy:


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Friday, March 30, 2018

Marinated Pork & Red Onion Kebabs

The pear tree is just starting to bud out. In late spring it is covered with blossoms. Glorious!

It is a cloudy day in late March, and I am longing for Summer. Lazy days, warm weather, gardening, grilling, picnics, I could go on and on. But northern New Mexico weather means it will be months before those dreams are realized...except, maybe the grilling?

Last summer we purchased a gas grill.  What a wonderful purchase. I still use the charcoal grill when I have a lot of time (those long summer days I was talking about.) But I have fallen in love with the ease of almost year-round grilling with the gas version. Flip on the burners and grilling can happen whatever the weather (except hard rain.). How cool to grill with snow on the ground.

So, on this cloudy, dreary, early Spring day we are having marinated port and red onion kebabs for dinner. Grilled. So there!  :)

Marinated for 24 hours, then grilled. This pork dish is delicious.
Marinated Pork & Red Onion Kebabs
(Serves 4)

1 1/2 lbs pork tenderloin, cut into 16 pieces
1 red onion, cut into 16 pieces
4-6 bamboo or metal skewers
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons cherry preserves
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and minced

Alternate 2 pieces of pork and two of onion threaded on a skewer until filled. Complete the process on remaining skewers with remaining pork and onion. Place kababs in a glass baking dish and season generously with salt and pepper.

Make the marinade by combining the remaining six ingredients in small bowl. Whisk until combined and pour over kababs. Let stand a minimum of two hours at room temperature, or up to 24 hours, covered in the refrigerator. Whichever method you choose, occasionally turn the kabobs to evenly marinate.

If you have refrigerated the kabobs, allow sitting at room temperature for 1 hour before cooking.

Preheat broiler or light the grill to medium-high. Drain marinade into small saucepanCook on grill for 15 minutes, or until meat is cooked through. Turn skewers, and baste often with sauce during cooking.

I served the kababs with rice pilaf and spinach salad. Enjoy!

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