Chris' Recipes

Bon Appetite!

Manila Clams with White Wine Sauce

Written By: Chris - Jan• 16•14

Venerupis philippinarum (Common name is “Manila” Clam) is an edible species of saltwater clams.  The shell is elongated, oval, and sculptured with radiating ribs.  It’s color is commonly grayish, greenish, brownish, yellow or buff with distinct dark or light colored triangular mottled markings that begin at the umbo (beak area of the clam) and disperse outwards.  They are the sweetest and probably the smallest hard-shell clams you will find in the market, making them the favorite of many professional chefs.  My friend Pete said you can really only find them there in the Washington area.  They are not a native of North America, but were accidentally introduced to Washington State in oyster seed shipments from Japan.  The animal quickly acclimated to the waters and is now found from British Columbia to northern California.  They are typically sold by the pound; about a dozen, which is a healthy main-course portion for one person.  We brought two pounds home from our recent Seattle trip and with some quick cooking instructions from Pete, who’s a great chef – they tasted amazing!

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 Ingredients:

2 lbs. Fresh Manila Clams
2/3 Stick of Butter
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
2/3 Cup Shallots, minced
2 Garlic Cloves, minced fine
2 Tablespoons Thyme, dried
1 Cup White Wine (2006 Cosentino Chardonnay)
1/2 Container Mascarpone Cheese
Fresh Lemon Juice
Toasted French Bread, for soaking up the sauce

We kept the clams on ice in the fridge and ate them within two days of arriving home.  Before cooking, rinse with cool water and place the clams on a clean, dry towel, shuffling through them loosely.  Discard any that look abnormal or are open.

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Heat oil and about two tablespoons of butter in a pot with deep sides.  Gently saute shallots and garlic over medium heat until light golden brown, being careful not to burn them.

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Place clams in pot and season with salt and pepper.  Pour in the wine.

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When deciding what kind of wine to cook with, I think that your best bet is to use a wine that you would drink.  Think of flavoring a recipe with wine in the same light as you would adding a spice.  Use fresh, good ingredients.  White wines are known to bring an acidic quality with a bit of pucker power and are perfect in cream sauces and for emphasizing seafood.  Cosentino is one of our favorites, so of course it made this dish taste delicious!

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Cover the pot and bring to boil over medium heat and steam the clams.  Allow them enough cooking time to open their shells.  If some don’t open in this time, discard them as they probably were already dead.  Happily, every one of our clams opened!  Pure Food Fish Market has the freshest fish!

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Remove clams to platter or large serving bowl.  I chose to remove the clams from the shells and placed them aside while I finish the sauce.

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Turn the heat to medium, simmering the broth and add additional butter pats, stirring constantly.  Stir in the thyme, lemon juice and mascarpone and cook down slightly to thicken.  Combine the clams with the broth in a serving bowl for dipping with crusty bread.  Serve immediately hot!

Enjoy!
Cheers!
~Chris

 

 

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