A large bowl of steamed clams, some parsley potatoes and a chilled glass of white wine bring back memories of sitting on a deck overlooking the sparkling water in Connecticut.
Clams are easy and quick to make, but are rarely made at home. Here are buying and storing tips:
Ask for steamers. They are considered soft shell clams (although their shell is hard to the touch.) Store them in a bowl in the refrigerator. Wash them under cold water with a stiff brush. Discard any that you can easily open or the shell moves easily. Little Neck clams can also be used. These are considered hard shell clams. They should be stored in the refrigerator in salted water with a couple of handfuls of cornmeal. When ready to use, rinse them under cold water and scrub with a brush. Throw away any with a loose or open shell.
Fred Tasker’s wine suggestion: Make it muscadet; it’s almost a legal requirement with shellfish.
Substitutions: Mussels can be substituted for the clams. Red or yellow potatoes cut into 2-inch pieces can be used instead of creamers.
To buy: 1 onion,1 small bunch carrot, 1 small bunch celery, 2 pounds clams, 3/4 pound creamers or new potatoes, 1 small bunch parsley, 1 bottle dry white wine
Staples: Canola oil, salt, black peppercorns
Nutrition: 454 calories; 29 calories from fat
NEW ENGLAND STEAMED CLAMS 1 tablespoon canola oil
1 cup sliced onion
1 cup sliced carrot
1 cup sliced celery
1 cup dry white wine
Freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds clams
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrots and celery. Saute until they start to shrivel but are not brown, about 10 minutes. Add wine and pepper to taste. Add clams and cover tightly. Bring liquid to the boil. Let boil about 3 minutes. The wine will boil up over the clams and they will open. As soon as they are open, remove from heat. With a slotted spoon, lift clams out of the pan and place in two large soup bowls. Discard any clams that do not open.
Meanwhile, bring the liquid to a boil and reduce rapidly by half. Serve the broth with all of the vegetables. Leave about a quarter-inch of the broth in the pan. This may have some sand from the clams in it.
Per serving: 270 calories (26 percent from fat), 7.7 g fat (0.7 g saturated, 4.3 g monounsaturated), 20 cholesterol, 11.7 g protein, 18.3 g carbohydrates, 3.6 g fiber, 508 mg sodium. PARSLEY POTATOES 3/4 pound creamer or new potatoes, washed but not peeled
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 cup chopped parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Place potatoes in a large saucepan; add cold water to cover potatoes. Cover with a lid and bring to a boil. Simmer about 15 minutes, until cooked through. Drain, place in a bowl. Toss with oil, parsley and salt and pepper to taste.
Per serving: 185 calories (35 percent from fat), 7.1 g fat (0.6 g saturated, 4.3 g monounsaturated), no cholesterol, 3.7 g protein, 28.0 g carbohydrates, 3.4 g fiber 39 mg sodium.Servings: 2 Servings: 2 Linda Gassenheimer is the author of 14 cookbooks, including “The Flavors of the Florida Keys” and “Mix ’n’ Match Meals in Minutes for People with Diabetes.” Go to dinnerinminutes.com.