Thursday, May 6, 2010

"Linguine" with White Clam Sauce

The next recipe I made is "Linguine" with White Clam Sauce.

Last week, I made "linguine" with white clam sauce, one of the canapés in The French Laundry Cookbook. It's a variation of the classic Italian entree, but varied slightly in both size and technique. It's also served in the shell, a style of presentation that I personally love. The reason why "linguine" is in double quotes is because Chef Keller recommends using capellini instead of linguine.

First, I made the roasted garlic purée. I preheated the oven and smashed some garlic on foil to make a "base."

I then added some whole heads of garlic (7 oz). and some salt.

I folded the foil into a small package and placed it in the oven for 1.5 hours to roast...

When I took it out, I scraped the garlic through my tamis. It's pretty amazing how a tamis will just separate everything for you, and all the garlic skins are left on the top side.

I flipped over the tamis and collected the richly and intoxicatingly aromatic garlic purée... Wow. This was delicious. I could just eat this for dinner.

Here we have the completed garlic purée. So goooooooood. I bet I could serve this as a dish and people would gobble it up (garlic lovers and vampire slayers, at the very least).

Next up? The clams. I got these littleneck clams from Wild Edibles at Grand Central Market. Great quality seafood, kind of pricey though. First I soaked them in cold water to clean out the debris... While waiting, I did a crossword puzzle.

Here's the mise en place for the clams: white wine, thyme, garlic, shallots, bay leaf.

I put them into a large pot and began cooking. I covered it with a lid, and every time I heard a "CLANK" I knew a clam just opened up. I removed them as they opened.

Personally, I love clams. I could eat buckets of them. My eyes were bulging from my sockets and my mouth was salivating like a Pavlovian dog as I heard the CLANKs coming from my stove.

When the clams were finished, I removed them all to a single plate and reserved.

The next step was labor-intensive. I removed all the clam meat from the shells, discarding the tough muscle from each. I also cleaned the interior of every clam shell and washed them thoroughly to make sure bits and pieces of shell were cleaned off.

Next step: I prepared the white clam sauce. Ingredients: butter, white wine vinegar, parsley, garlic purée, thyme, and reserved and strained clam broth.

I first cooked the garlic purée into the clam broth. I brought this to a simmer and reduced it.

Then I added the butter little by little until it was all incorporated smoothly...

Lastly, I added the white wine vinegar. I poured about half the sauce over the clams.

Next, I made the capellini. I am a heathen and did not make the pasta homemade this time. I personally have no experience in making capellini and I saw the premade pasta at Grand Central Market. In addition, the pastas they sell there are relatively fresh and made in-house, rather than manufactured by some gigantic plant in New Jersey. So I felt like it was an adequate substitute.

Here's the capellini:

I tossed with the rest of the sauce, parsley, and thyme.

Plating! I found the largest tray I had (my Pyrex glass baking dish) and placed all the clam shells in a neat rectangular array. Then I added some pasta and a clam and some of the sauce. The dish looked professional. The recipe calls for making a Rock Salt Mix to serve it on, but I figured this was good enough.

I loved this. This is an excellent canapé. Canapé size is actually only three clams, and I made 18 (enough for six people). I also shared this with my roommate and his friend, who devoured half of them between them. I ate the other half.

My only complaint about this dish is that your hands inevitably get very messy after you consume it. It lends itself to being picked up by the shell and slurped down. So keep lots of wet naps on hand closeby. :)

Littleneck Clams from Wild Edibles (Grand Central Market)
Produce from Greenwich Produce
Capellini from Ceriello Fine Foods


  1. When I can try your Linguine with White Clam Sauce. it looks delicious.

  2. I will make it again sometime!