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Thai Clam Pot

Something about summer makes me crave light, flavor-packed meals. Refreshing, satisfying, usually spicy. We plan to travel to the coast with friends of ours this weekend to harvest mussels and cook up a classic moules-frites—mussels steamed over garlic-herb-infused wine and served alongside crisp, salted fries. Since we planned this a few days ago, I’ve been obsessing over how good it’s going to be (especially the broth!) and it wasn’t long until I started lingering over memories of shellfish dinners past. Enter the Thai Clam Pot—a wonderful entrée as tasty as it is simple. Boil some water, sauté some garlic and scallion… voilà.

We love this spicy clam dish served over thin rice noodles, but angel hair will work just fine. As with any steamed shellfish dish, the cooking liquid is very valuable and should be ladled liberally over each bowl of noodles and clams. Light shellfish-scented broth is such a wonderful carrier for spice! Pair with a glass or two of vinho verde or rosé for a nice, bright dinner.

Stay tuned for a moules-frites blog in the near future!

Thai Clam Pot
4 to 6 servings

 

Have ready:
     8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
     8 scallions, cut into 2-inch lengths, then cut lengthwise in half
     1 to 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
     1 cup mirin combined with 1 cup water
     3 pounds littleneck clams, rinsed and drained
     1 cup basil leaves, cut into thin strips
     2 tablespoons fish sauce
When ready to cook, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add and cook until tender:
     8 ounces angel hair pasta or thin rice noodles
Immediately drain in a colander and rinse lightly to remove starch. While the noodles are cooking, heat a heavy pot large enough to hold the clams over high heat, and add:
     2 tablespoons peanut oil
Heat, stirring, until very hot. Add the garlic, scallions, and red pepper flakes. Stir for about 15 seconds. Standing back, add the mirin mixture, then cover and bring to a boil. Add the clams, cover, and return to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and cook just until the clams have opened, 7 to 8 minutes, shaking the pot 3 or 4 times to ensure they cook evenly. Add the basil, cover, and cook for 30 to 45 seconds. Add the fish sauce and stir. Divide the noodles among individual bowls, add the clams, and pour the broth over them.
Serve with:
     Lime wedges
     Cilantro leaves
     Sriracha

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Heat in a heavy skillet over medium heat:
     1 tablespoon neutral oil such as safflower
Add and brown well on all sides, about 2 minutes per side:
     8...