More March Meals — Spaghetti and Count Neck Clams

Wednesday night Barbara was out, and I came home in the evening from class.  That afternoon, I had read the email from my fish supplier (Quarterdeck Seafoods in Maynard) that said they had “Count Neck Clams”.  I looked this variety up online and found that they are a very small, hard-shelled clam from Maine, so I stopped on the way home to get some for dinner.  Spaghetti and clam sauce is one of my favorites, when I am on the “Almost” side of Almost-Vegan.

Recipe is virtually foolproof, although this time I added two unusual ingredients: Flowering Chinese chives and Lobster Mushrooms.  I still had a small package of these meaty mushrooms in dried form, so I decided to add them to the dish:

  • soak dried mushrooms in boiling water for 30 minutes
  • bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta
  • when water boils, add salt, bring to a boil again, and then add spaghetti (I use 120 grams for myself, enough for a little leftover snack the next day).
  • sauté chopped green or regular garlic in 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil, preferably Portuguese, such as Cabeço das Nogueiras
  • add chopped scallions, or in my case, flowering Chinese chives
  • remove the mushrooms from the water, and chop coarsely, then add to the pan
  • add the clams and cover over moderate heat, so they start to steam in their own juices
  • after 3-5 minutes, add 1/2 cup of white wine, and cover
  • if the clams have not started to open in a few minutes, add a little more wine
  • use a pair of tongs to remove the clams to a bowl as they open; they will be tough if you leave them in the pan until the last one is open
  • drain the pasta when just al dente, reserving a cup of the hot pasta water
  • put the spaghetti in the sauté pan, pull the top shell off each clam and discard, and place the bottom shell and its meat into the sauté pan.
  • add 1/2 cup of the pasta water, mix all together, and heat over a medium flame for a minute or two so that the pasta is just the right texture.  Add a little more pasta water if needed.
  • Add sea salt (only if needed), freshly ground black pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil
  • serve in a big bowl
  • open a bottle of Casa Do Valle, 2013 Vinho Verde from Portugal (delicious, great value)
  • call Chris (owner of Quarterdeck and my friend for over 30 years) and tell him how much you enjoyed it

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