If you have to abstain from consuming meat this week, this is Marketman’s way to abstain. Not much of a sacrifice at all. :) I was at the market in Cebu last week, picking up a few items for a birthday lunch for a crew member. I spotted these spectacular looking small clams and purchased 3 kilos of them, for a rather reasonable PHP180. They looked clean (no moss or filth in the water they were in) so I figured I would take a chance…
Back at the office, we soaked the small clams in salted water, and threw in some flour to hopefully tick off the clams and force them to disgorge any uglies they may be harboring within. The clams did indeed appear to be from relatively clear waters, and they didn’t spit out much sand or other debris.
Into a very large kawali or wok, I added about a cup of water, turned the burners onto super high, and when the water was boling, added the three kilos of clams and covered them up for a minute or two. The clams opened up nicely, and I removed the clams, boiling down the broth to concentrate the flavors, and to yield about 1.5-2.0 cups of liquid. Strain the clam broth through paper towels and a fine sieve. Meanwhile, pick out roughly 2/3 of the shells and discard them, leaving just some of the clams in their shells and lots of clam meat.
Wipe down the wok/pan, place back on the burners over medium heat, add a very generous swig of olive oil and saute some minced garlic and onions until soft and fragrant. Add the clams and clam meat back in, and a cup or more of white wine. Reduce the wine and add in the broth and some spaghetti noodles that had already been cooked to an al dente stage. Season with salt and pepper, add lots of chopped parsley and you are done! How easy was that? Adjust oil if it looks like it needs it. Do NOT dry this all the way out. It should be moist, but not soupy.
It was a huge hit at lunch. The clam flavor was clearly present, but not overwhelming. The little meats with every fork full of pasta really hit the spot. We don’t cook this dish enough here in the Philippines due to the erratic availability of well-sourced local clams, but it’s always a thrill when you get this right. For say less than PHP300, we easily fed 15 people, with other dishes on the table as well. Just be careful where you get your clams, or you could have this problem, here. If you haven’t seen that post already, click on the link and have a good laugh, on me. :)