September 22, 2010

The Clams the Saved the Day


Clams are everywhere right now. Last week I read four or five different recipes for clam pasta, and one terribly enticing Manhattan Clam Chowder recipe. So when I stopped at the market after work, I was determined to get some clams.

I'd never cooked clams before, but they didn't really intimidate me, because you don't have to shuck them, like you do oysters. You just simmer them and then, poof, they open and are ready to eat.  They are also a relatively inexpensive way to add a lot of flavor and a little festivity to a meal.  I bought 20 clams for $6.  Mixed with good pasta, tomatoes, corn, and herbs from the market and half a cup of white wine and a couple cloves of garlic, and voila!  We have a marvellous meal.  (I used this recipe, from Dinner A Love Story.) (Be sure to really reduce the sauce, so it isn't too soupy.  It is filled with so many delicious flavors, and I'd hate for them to go to waste, but I was too impatient to wait for it to reduce.)

How did these charming little clams save the day?  Well, a friend had stopped by to pick up a new jam I had made (he's my jam guinea pig).  He was in the apartment for all of 3 minutes: one to help me get the jar down from the shelf, one to be introduced to Myrna, and one to remark on the odd musical selections of our neighbors (we could hear them drive up through our open windows).  And then he was gone.

10 minutes later he called me saying: "I think my car has been towed.  I've been walking back and forth and think I'm going crazy, but, I really think it's been towed."  The weird music...that was the tow truck.  He slipped in, grabbed the car, and drove away in a minute and a half. 

Well, clearly, he was pretty upset, excused himself to call the tow truck company and a friend to drive him to pick up his car.  He meekly returned, full of apologies.  But why should he apologize to me?  We served him a big plate of clams and pasta, shared a bottle of wine, and made things just a little bit better.

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