One of my favorite things about the cuisine in the Pacific Northwest is Manilla clams.....everyone who knows me, knows I love Manilla clams! Did you know you don’t have to go to Manila to get manila clams? We have them right here!!
Shellfish are a very healthy choice. Clams are low in fat, high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids. They are also a rich source of potassium, and a very good source of Protein, and if you are watching the waistline, pretty low in calories. Mussels are much the same and very high in iron, but, have a different flavor than Manilla clams.
The first thing to learn is the storage of these succulent shellfish; make sure they stay alive. They need air to breath just like you and me, so if you put them in a plastic bag and seal it and expect them to open when cooked, you will be sadly disappointed. Put them loosely wrapped in plastic until they get home. Once there, they should be fine if you just put them in bowls in the refrigerator, covered with a damp towel.
Once they are cooked, they should be open, if they are not, throw them out....no, don't pry them open!! My fish market goes through the clams and throws them out if they are not alive, so I am not paying 4.99 a pound for dead clams. My market is Mutual Fish, and they are great. They will ship overnight as well, and they promise me my manilla clams will still be alive!! Yippee!
JJ's Manilla clams
serves 4 appetizer
2 lbs. manilla clams
1/2 c. peppered bacon or 1/3 lb. spicy sausage
1/2 c. chopped leeks
6 wedges of lemon
1/2 stick of butter
1/4 c. olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 cup any dry white wine (*sauvignon blanc)
3 sprigs of thyme
Heat the oil in a large skillet or wok over medium heat. Add bacon or sausage and cook until the edges of the bacon are browned or sausage is browned.
Add chopped garlic and diced leeks.
Rinse the clams under cold water. Drain and make sure they are all closed before adding to the pan. Discard any that are open.
Add the clams to the pan. Increase the heat a bit, then pour in the wine. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until the clams all pop open. About 3 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat. Add the lemon, thyme and butter. The heat from the clams will melt the butter.
Serve with salad and focaccia bread.
*This wine will be very dry and offer a fresh light herbal tilt that will enhance nearly any dish.
*Please note all the alcohol burns off.
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