I realized that this was my first time working with live clams! Not that I am new to clam sauce, no, it's just that I always used the canned variety. Nor was I shopping for a "new" recipe, per se, I already have two that are quite good and quite different. But this one appeared in my life when the time was right.
My first clam sauce recipe is my mother's recipe. She's classic Americana - meatloaf, pot roast - I don't know that clam sauce is Americana, per se, but her recipe involves a stick of butter, canned clams, and a dusting of "parmesan." The parm in quotes is definitely Americana because, in my childhood home, this always meant the big green jar of shakeable cheese product that was not refrigerated. Hmmm. I have "updated" Mom's recipe with real Parmesan, but the rest stays as it is because it's delicious and I certainly have nothing against canned clams. The second recipe is from Jacques Pepin and is really a spring vegetable and clam sauce, therefore distinct and only to be used at the beginning of spring with those veggies that he calls for. This third recipe is fun and delicious, and has no butter at all *gasp*, so it also has a place in my book.
Uwajimaya was able to somewhat redeem itself with this bunch of bivalves. You may recall that Asian Papa and his fishmonger cohorts were in the doghouse after selling me 2 busted oysters out of a mere 12. Lame. Well, one was busted and one was AWOL. But this time EVERY SINGLE CLAM opened. These Manila clams are gorgeous; there was just a little slime to scrub off, but no barnacles or anything crazy like on oysters. And no beards like on mussels. And no sand in my sauce! Perhaps I am a clam-cooking savant.
One of these days I am going to make Clams Casino. I have always wanted to. As well as Oysters Rockefeller. Since we are on the topic of bivalves, I have come to terms with the fact that I do not like mussels. I know! I have ordered them often enough, prepared them myself ... what gives? I don't like the flavor and you can't argue with my taste buds; they are very insistent. Well, a qualifier, I can eat about two mussels before my tongue screams foul. If it's a really good sauce like the now-defunct Mandalay restaurant's, then I can share a bowl. Those were the best mussels ever, and you can't turn down the best of anything ever, can you? Nope. But you can't truly love something when you place all these qualifiers on it, now can you? Oysters, however, need no qualifiers - I can eat those all day! We'll see if U can truly redeem itself when I go back for some of those and say, "I need to look at them because last time ...." I should get a couple extra thrown in, free of charge, don't you think?
1/2 cup e.v. olive oil
8 garlic cloves, sliced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup parsley (plus more for garnish)
1/4 cup lemon juice
Parmesan for grating
1 lb. spaghetti
Cook spaghetti to your liking. Heat evoo in a large skillet (that has a lid), over medium heat. Add the garlic slices and saute until just golden brown. Add the clams and parsley and stir. Pour in wine and let simmer for two minutes. Pour in lemon juice and put on the lid, cooking the clams until they open, about 6 minutes. Serve over spaghetti with as much grated Parmesan as you like. Nice with garlic bread and a salad. Oh yeah, if any clams don't open, throw them out.