Saturday, April 21, 2012

Curried Little Neck Clams



The clam fairies arrived at our house on Thursday.  Actually I guess you could go with seafood fairies since they brought clams, stone crabs and some giant shrimp.  Really the seafood fairies are my parents, don't expect them to drop by your house unless you are my brother.  In that case you probably got a visit too.  This visit was a result of a trip to Cedar Key.  We got my parents a stay at the Cedar Key Bed and Breakfast for Christmas and they finally got around to cashing it in.  Apparently Cedar Key is big on seafood- especially clams.  They raise them there and ship them all over the country!  I learn something new every day.
So I had a big bag of these puppies and no clue what to do with them.  I’ve never cooked clams.  I’m not sure why but they have been relegated to the category of “things I only eat in restaurants.”  I wasn’t about to pass up some fresh local clams though and there is always a first time for everything.  It turns out clams are pretty easy.  Now I’m wishing I had a whole vat of them to cook with.  Clam chowder anyone?  Maybe next time.  I’m definitely going to keep clams in mind for menu options in the future!
One note about clams you should know if you are picking some up at the store- know your source.  Clams are filter feeders and will siphon in and store pollution from the waters they live in.  You shouldn’t buy clams from anywhere you aren’t familiar with. 

Curried Little Neck Clams

1 ½- 2 lbs little neck clams
1 tbsp olive oil
½ cup onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup vegetable broth
½ tsp ginger, minced
1 tsp curry powder
¼ tsp salt
1/8 tsp cardamom
1/8 tsp turmeric
2 tbsp coconut milk
1 ½ cups chopped asparagus

If you purchase your clams at a grocery store they will probably already be cleaned.  If you get them from a seafood vendor, directly from the fishermen, or dig them up yourself, you will want to properly clean them before cooking.  This will get the sand and grit out from inside the clam.

Fill a bowl or your sink with enough cold water to cover your clams.  Add a cup of salt and dissolve.




Add your clams and allow to sit for 20-30 minutes.  Feel fee to stare at them if you are like me and want to see them open.




When the time is up you’ll want to give them a good scrub.  Luckily I had a trusty team of helpers for this.  That’s grandma scrubbing and Kota rinsing.




When your clams are ready to go, heat olive oil in a pot large enough to hold your clams with some extra room.  You don’t want them crowded.


Add onion and sauté until translucent.  Add garlic and onion and sauté another couple of minutes.



Combine broth, spices and coconut milk and bring to a boil.




Add your clams and cover with a tight fitting lid.  Continue to boil until the clams start to open.  You can either remove the open clams or stir them around to make sure the others are getting equal heat.




Add in asparagus when clams start to open.




Once they have all opened, ladle clams, sauce and asparagus into a bowl and dig in.



I think this might be the first time the kids had clams.  Kota was eating them like popcorn...


Until she saw my plate and had to have one in the shell.  You can't eat the shell.


Really, you can't eat it.  But everyone was jumping on the bandwagon.


Aidric was also in the mood to share his peas.  Isn't that sweet?


When we were done, this was all that was left of our clam feast.


Thank you clam fairies!

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