A while back, I had some leftover King Crab legs after making a seafood soup. The crab was, unfortunately, not the best quality and I decided to jazz them up a little with a spicy sauce. I took as my inspiration the very popular Singapore Chilli Crab and made a ‘quick and dirty’, less complex version of the sauce for that dish that was based primarily on simple canned tomato sauce with Sriracha Sauce for the fire. Anyway, the end product was very good (despite the poor crab) and I wanted to reproduce it. Unfortunately, the only crab I could find was the same poor quality brand I had the first time, and Snow Crab, which I don’t much care for. Instead, I decided to use some clams I had in my freezer and the result was even nicer… Continue reading “Chilli Clams”
Clams and Pork may sound like an unlikely pairing to some but it is actually a pretty popular combination in the cuisines of both China and Portugal. However, though the Chinese generally use ground pork, as I do here, the Portuguese tend to favor larger chunks of the meat. Basil may seem like an odd addition for a Chinese preparation but in fact Basil is quite well known in that nation, most notably by the Hakka people, who sometimes use it in very large quantities in a single dish. Beyond that though, I have also used soy and rice wine among the flavorings here so, ethnically speaking, we have pretty much taken a left turn at Portugal and headed straight on to China…
By the way, instead of waiting until my usual verdict in the end-notes, I am going to come out and tell you right away that this preparation is absolutely scrumptious… Continue reading “Clams and Pork with Basil”
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… Continue reading “Black Bean Steamed Clams”
This is the first use of the Qikiqtarjuaq Clams my wife bought while I was away on Court circuit. For this recipe, I am going to deep fry the whole clam rather than just the muscular ‘strip’ so it will be, as they say in New England and the Maritimes, ‘Fried Clam with Belly’. I have always loved fried clams but I try to avoid too many deep-fried foods (and these can be very rich) so I am just doing three each for me and the wife as a little appetizer… Continue reading “Deep-Fried Clam Appetizer”
A couple of days ago, I mentioned that my wife had purchased some clams that were harvested offshore from the tiny community of Qikiqtarjuaq. She bought two bags, totaling about 50 clams or so, and you can see one bag, and a few of the clams, in the above picture.
Most people are not aware of it, but the term clam is not a precise zoological name for a particular species but is rather a very broad general term for a whole range of similar, but not necessarily closely related, type of shellfish. I have no idea what particular species is harvested up in Qikiqtarjuaq. The variety has a very pronounced (and rather phallic looking) extension that is sometimes called the ‘neck’ but which is, in fact, a siphon by which the clam ingests seawater and extracts the plankton which makes up its diet. In this feature, it is very similar to the Geoduck (pronounced ‘gooey duck’) and the Horse Clam (or ‘Gaper’), but both these species are native to the Pacific Coast as far as I know and so that would seem to rule them out. I rather thought, after doing a little research, that these clams may be a northern variety of Quahog know as Arctica islandica, but they have the same sort of thin very fragile shell that is called a ‘soft-shell’ (in contrast to the hard shell quahogs), so I really am at a loss. In any event, these clams are sufficiently representative of the whole broad class that we can make some pretty good observations about clams in general… Continue reading “Clams from Qikiqtarjuaq”
Thanksgiving (the Canadian edition) will have come and gone by the time this gets posted but, this year, I decided to forego the rack of lamb we usually have and make a Cioppino. For those unfamiliar with the dish, this is an Italian-American seafood stew (or soup, if you prefer) created in San Franciso in the 1800’s. It combines shellfish and sometimes (but not always) fish in a rich broth containing wine and tomatoes. Regular readers of my blog may recall the review I did of the Fish Market Restaurant in Ottawa where I had a dish that they called Bouillabaisse which, while very good, was really much more of a Cioppino. I have had a hankering to cook the dish ever since then and (some months later) I finally managed to get around to it… Continue reading “Cioppino”
I came across an interesting recipe for marinated clams in one of my Chinese cookery books recently (this one translated into both English and Spanish, as it happens). The recipe called for raw clams and used a marinade employing red chili and a fair amount of soy sauce and vinegar. I still had a package of the Mirabel Brand Pre-Cooked Frozen Clams that I used in my Clams with White Wine and Basil experiment not long ago and I thought that they might do nicely in a similar preparation as long as the marinade was a little lighter… Continue reading “Experiment: Marinated Clams”
I have three bags of the Mirabel Brand Frozen Clams I featured in a recent ‘Foodstuffs’ post and I thought I would use a couple to make a nice light meal for me and the wife. The first time I used this product, which was only a few weeks before I started writing this blog, I steamed a bag of the clams in a rich liquor made up of soy, ginger, garlic, sugar and rice wine, along with a small bunch of fresh basil. For this experiment, I wanted to use Basil again (as I still have some which needs to be used up) and I thought I might try something a little more delicate using white wine… Continue reading “Experiment: Clams with White Wine and Basil”
One of our local stores has been carrying the Mirabel Brand of Frozen Clams for about six or seven months now. When I first saw them in the freezer cabinet over the last Christmas holidays, I almost passed them by because, to tell you the truth, I am not a really huge fan. I actually love shellfish in general, and could almost live on seafood alone, but clams, I have to say, pretty much come last on my list of preferred types. I don’t mind the breaded clam ‘strips’ that many restaurants serve, but whole clams just don’t usually do it for me.
Anyway… despite my lukewarm feelings about this particular mollusk I ended up grabbing a package on a whim and I can tell you now that I am really glad I did. Not only were these tiny clams a terrific treat, they turned out to be the absolute best I have ever purchased… Continue reading “Foodstuff: Mirabel Brand Pre-Cooked Frozen Clams”