I don’t recall actually ever seeing steamed clams as a dim sum offering in a restaurant, but this combination of clams and salted black beans, along with other typically Chinese seasonings certainly does make a nice ‘small plate’ delicacy and that’s what I had in mind when I put together today’s recipe. I am using the Mirabel brand of small frozen clams as these are deliciously sweet and look very pretty for this sort of dish, but you can use fresh ones of any type…
- small Clams;
- ½ cup Chicken Stock;
- 2 tbsp. Shaoxing Wine;
- 1 tsp. Oyster Sauce;
- ½ tsp. Sugar (optional);
- 1 small Scallion, sliced into thin rings;
- 1 tbsp. chopped fresh Garlic;
- 1 tsp. minced Ginger;
- 2 small red chilies, thinly sliced;
- 1 tbsp. Salted Black Beans, coarsely chopped.
First, mix together the stock, wine, oyster sauce and the sugar, if you are using it, and set this aside to use as the base for the steaming sauce.
Heat a little oil in a small pan over moderate heat and then sweat the garlic, ginger, and the white parts of the scallion. When the garlic is soft but not browned, add the stock mixture, allow everything to come just to the boil and then remove from the heat.
Arrange the clams in little serving dishes (I used just two but smaller portions would look very pretty as well), and spoon over the sauce, making sure you don’t leave behind the bits of garlic and onion. Now, scatter over the chili and black beans.
Steam your dishes for 7 or 8 minutes, scatter over the green scallion segments and serve.
This does make a very pleasant appetizer sort of dish and it is very enjoyable using the clam shells to scoop up the sauce from the dish and steamed buns or something along those lines might make a nice accompaniment. The black beans added a lovely salty note and extra umami o he sweet clam flesh but I did find that he chilies I chose were just a little too fiery for me. You may wish to substitute with a milder variety, or even finely chopped red bell pepper instead.