Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Beach Eats, Home Version

You can't beat copious amounts of seafood consumed while listening to the ocean and smelling the salty sea air. And that's exactly what we did last weekend in Manzanita.

After throwing together a dinner of linguini with clams on arrival, then the next day eating (nearly) our weight in clams and crab for lunch at Kelly's Brighton Marina in Rockaway, we stopped and picked up a steamed crab on the way back and made crab cakes for dinner that night.

Talk about eating local!

 Linguini con Vongole (Linguini with Clam Sauce)

1 lb. dried pasta
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. dried red pepper flakes
2-3 lbs. steamer clams
1/2 c. dry white wine or rosé
Salt and pepper to taste

Bring large pot of water to boil. Add pasta and cook till al dente. Drain.

While pasta cooks, heat oil in large frying pan over medium heat. Add garlic and briefly sauté till warmed, making sure it doesn't brown. Then add red pepper flakes, stir briefly, and add steamer clams and rosé. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cover for five to ten minutes until clams open. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour over pasta in serving bowl, sprinkle with parmesan.

* * *

No-fuss Crab Cakes

Herbs and other ingredients like hot peppers or celery can be added to these, but keep the amounts as small as possible. The point, after all, is for them to be mostly crab with just enough filler to hold them together.

1 steamed Dungeness crab (approx. 1 lb.)
2 Tbsp. yellow onion or green onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 egg
1 c. dried bread crumbs*
1/2 tsp. lime or lemon zest
1/2 c. mayonnaise
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp. olive oil

Remove meat from crab and place in mixing bowl. Add onion, garlic, bread crumbs, egg, zest and enough mayonnaise to moisten the mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste and combine. Form into 2" cakes about 1/2" thick (they should barely hold together). Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat and brown on both sides. Serve.

* Make your own bread crumbs by cubing two or three slices of bread and putting them in a 300° oven for half an hour or so, checking to make sure they don't burn. When they're completely dry, put them in a bowl and crush with a smaller bowl or drinking glass (I improvised, can you tell?) to make fine crumbs.


JerryC said...


Not a bad try at Pasta a Vongole; for a Westerner...

Include a generous half cup of chopped Italian Parsley. But here's the secret to suco vongole all you Left Coasters: SHUCK YOUR CLAMS and coarsely chop the raw bi-valve meat instead of steaming them open and serving them whole...

Treating the lowly clam-o-la with a bit more elbow grease serves two purposes. First, clams tend to be sweeter when quickly killed/chopped and they release more coveted clam liqueur. And second, hard shell clams get rubbery when steamed. Add the chopped clams to your sauce, bring it up to temp, pour pasta into skillet, flip/toss in the pan and serve piping hot!

Some believe it heresy to serve clam sauce with parmesan cheese, but I don't!

Kathleen Bauer said...

Ah, would that I had the patience to shuck, chop and fuss with those little buggers. Though I disagree with your assessment of the texture of hardshell clams as rubbery. A quick steam just until they opened rendered mine moist and tender!