Recently I found myself in Chinatown - early - going for accupuncture and massage treatments. I love this time of day, when the streets are clean and uncrowded and the fishmongers are putting out the day's catch. It all looks good and smells good and inspires me to cook.
I spied a heavenly bag of wild mahogany clams next to the heaps of bags of brilliantly black mussels-alive-alive-oh. They glistened like wet tiger's eye. And into my shopping bag they went, to be transported back to Brooklyn for a garlicky feast.
Wild mahoghany clams or golden neck are similar in flavor to Quahogs, but more robust and a little saltier. They are fantastic in pasta dishes and hold up well in dishes with strong, complex flavor structures.
I bought a bottle of Shiao Xing wine, which tastes a bit like sherry, but drier, to add to my impromptu feast.
Wild Mahogany Clams with Fresh Herbs & Linguine
8 ounces linguine
2 tablespoons olive oil
Place clams in a cold salter water bath with a 1/4 cup of corn meal for about a half hour, rinsing periodically as clams disgorge grit. Discard any clams with bnroken shells or those which are open and do not close when handled.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add pasta and cook until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain pasta.
Meanwhile, heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds, then add tomatoes, herbs, wine and stock. Finally, add clams and cover, reducing heat to medium.
Cook until clams open, about - 6 minutes. With tongs, transfer fresh clams to plate, throwing out any unopened clams. Add cooked pasta to sauce in skillet, tossing to coat the pasta, about a minute.
Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide pasta between bowls. Top with fresh clams and serve.
Wine pairing: Henry LaGarde Reserve 2008, Mendoza, Rose "Well-defined salmon color, clear and bright, with outstanding cherry flavors. This blend of Malbec and Pinot Noir is fresh and complex in the mouth." (Beacon Wines)