Steamed clams bring summer at the shore to mind

McClatchy-Tribune News ServiceJuly 4, 2013 

A large bowl of steamed clams, some parsley potatoes and a chilled glass of white wine make the perfect summer meal and 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 some 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 open easily or the shell moves easily. Littleneck clams also may 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.

A good wine suggestion to enjoy with this meal is muscadet. It's almost a legal requirement with shellfish.

Some helpful hints for this meal: Mussels may be substituted for the clams; red or yellow potatoes cut into 2-inch pieces may be used instead of creamers. 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 large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot and celery. Sauté 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 a 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 them from the heat. With a slotted spoon lift the clams out of the pan and place in two large soup bowls, saving liquid. Discard any clams that do not open.

Bring liquid to a boil and reduce rapidly by half. Serve the broth with all of the vegetables. Leave about ¼ inch of broth in the pan. This might have some sand from the clams in it. Makes 2 servings.

Nutrition information per serving: 270 calories, 7.7 g. fat, 20 mg. cholesterol, 11.7 g. protein, 18.3 g. carbohydrates, 3.6 g. fiber, 508 mg. sodium.

Parsley potatoes

¾ pound creamer or new potatoes, washed but not peeled

1 tablespoon canola oil

½ cup chopped parsley

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place potatoes in large saucepan; add cold water to cover. Cover pan with a lid and bring potatoes 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.

Makes 2 servings.

Nutrition information per serving: 185 calories, 7.1 g. fat, no cholesterol, 3.7 g. protein, 28 g. carbohydrates, 3.4 g. fiber 39 mg. sodium.

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