Place a large pot on a medium heat, add olive oil and heat for 1-2 minutes , add pancetta and saute until crisp, then add garlic and onion, saute until soft, about 5 minutes add chili flakes and pepper and saute another minute. Add to the pot the tomatoes with liquid breaking the tomatoes with the back of your spoon, next add the clam juice and thyme. Bring to a boil add the clams and cover. Cook until clams are open, discard any unopened clams. Serve immediately with bread or pasta.
New York City and it’s outer boroughs are a wonderful place to grow up. This is especially true as a young child discovering New York City. I often think of NY as a collection of neighborhoods strung together, each one unique to discover. It’s amazing how there are all these wonderful locations tucked away ,often, only discovered when someone who inhabits one of these special places, invites you to share in their special world. Rockaway Beach in Queens is such a place. It stretches on a peninsula along the Atlantic Ocean and is the largest urban beach in the United States. The streets are lined with small bungalow houses. Fun fact these bungalow’s are currently being used to film the new HBO show Boardwalk Empire – recreating the rows of bungalows that once existed behind the Atlantic City Boardwalk – another favorite location from my childhood…but that’s another blog entry. This one is about how , as a child , my family would visit one of those cute bungalow’s in Rockaway Beach. The days were filled with sun, sand and clams. We would dig for clams along the beach and then the clams would be cleaned and cooked. It seemed to me that there were endless buckets of clams to eat, the adults would sit drink and laugh and the kids would be running along the beach. It’s here that I ate my first of many clams right out of the shell. This along with memories of wet bathing suits, sand in the bottom of my two piece bathing suit along with great food, laughter and good company lead me to create my clam recipe that I share today with you.
Wishing you the happiest and clammiest of food memories! Maryann
This is also know as clams in sand as the breadcrumbs in this dish resembles sand when thrown in around the clams , however you would like to refer to this dish it’s a wonderful dish that evokes the seaside.
Mediterranean Grilled Clams with Spaghetti
To make clams and bread crumb topping:
1 cup toasted bread crumbs
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons lemon juice
4 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup sundried tomatoes, packed in oil, chopped
¼ cup Italian parsley, chopped
¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
¼ cup toasted walnuts, ground
¼ teaspoon red chili flakes
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
36 littleneck clams, cleaned
Rinse clams with water removing all sand. Fill sink with cool water, add clams and 2 tablespoons salt Let stand for at least a ½ hour. When ready to grill, rinse with cool water again.
In the meantime in a large bowl, combine all ingredients except clams and mix well. Remove ½ of the mixture and set aside. Heat grill, place clams on grill until they open. Discard any unopened clams. Toss together with the breadcrumb mixture to serve.
To make spaghetti
1 lb spaghetti cooked
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons lemon zest
½ bread crumb mixture
Cook spaghetti according to package instructions. Remove from heat and drain. Place spaghetti into a large mixing bowl with the remaining ingredients and mix well. Place onto a platter. Add the clams and bread crumb mixture on to of the platter of spaghetti and serve.
Note: You can serve this as a clam appetizer by eliminating the pasta and serving the clams with just the bread crumbs. Serves 6.