It’s Friday, and for us that means that dinner is never a serious issue. Good thing, too, since no one has any energy, right? It means no fuss or muss, but flavor isn’t something to sacrifice. Take out doesn’t count on that front, ever, since the whole point of take out for us is flavor with zero fuss or muss.
But clams and take out don’t exactly mix– at least not around here. And ironically, even though we have the Chesapeake Fish Co. harvesting and processing excellent sea food here in San Diego, the retail clams I purchase most often are shipped from the East Coast. So much for being a locovore. The tag on the bag I brought home stated that the clams were harvested one day, shipped the next, and they ended up in my kitchen a day and a half later.
Our passion for clams started with this recipe which I saw in the May 2002 issue of Bon Appetit. It was featured in an article on Capri and the lemons that grow in that region of Italy, and I had to try it. Since then, not only have I altered that recipe again and again, but I’ve tried a number of others like this Spanish version which may be our favorite.
Recently, I decided to experiment with a different recipe — one that included linguica — a type of Portuguese sausage which is firm, and more similar to Spanish chorizo than regular sausage. In the case of this latest recipe, the liguica came first, and not the recipe. That’s how it usually works. I see an ingredient while I’m shopping and put it in my basket knowing I’ll come up with something, so it’s been sitting patiently in my fridge, waiting for me to figure it out — tempting me each time I open the cheese drawer and making me think, “Jeez! I forgot I had that! What’s the expiration date????”
My latest clam “something” began with an Italian idea influenced by a Spanish recipe, and was supposed to have a New England spin, but the English beer and Portuguese sausage sort of changed everything.
I’ll leave it as “Clams with Linguica and Beer.” There’s nothing fancy about this one, but it’s perfect for a Friday night at home. Don’t forget the crusty bread. You’ll need it to soak up the broth. Mmmm…
Clams with Linguica and Beer
8 oz. Linguica, sliced into 1/2″ pieces
30 little neck clams
1 lg. Spanish onion, sliced
2 lbs. fresh tomatoes, coarsely chopped
8 oz. veggie broth, hot
9 oz. dark beer
1/4 c. olive oil
3 T dried oregano
4 cloves fresh garlic
salt & pepper to taste
- In a large lidded pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil and garlic over medium heat until garlic is fragrant, but not browned.
- Add the sausage pieces and onion, stirring until onions begin to soften.
- Add the beer and let cook about 5 minutes until very hot.
- Add the clams, then the tomatoes, veggie broth and oregano. Put the lid on the pan and leave it, allowing the liquid to heat and create steam.
- Shake pan occasionally without lifting the lid, then check in about 5-6 minutes to see if clams are open.
- Remove those opened to a bowl and cover pan for 1-2 minutes more to finish the rest. Discard any unopened clams and pour liquid over clams.
- Enjoy out of large platter or serve in small bowls. Sprinkle with some crushed red pepper if you want some spice.
- This quantity served three until we were fat and sassy.
- The dark beer is an interesting addition — it makes the broth quite hearty.
- You can used a 28-oz. can of very good chopped tomatoes for this if you don’t want to use fresh. I had lots of heirlooms that were on sale at the market, so it was perfect.
- We don’t have to do anything to the clams here except make sure there’s no exterior sand left on the shells, so a quick wash is all it takes to prepare them.
- I haven’t tried this recipe with mussels, but we love them, so I’m sure they’d be terrific.