Locals Seafood asked me and two other social media foodie gurus (Kristen Baughman of gadaboutfood.com and Johanna Kramer of DurhamFoodie) to participate in the “3 on 3 at the Winter Seafood Jubilee” this month, a series of NC winter seafood-centric events and promotions taking place in the Triangle throughout February. Kristin was up to the task last week, cooking clams in beer, grilling hybrid striped bass and pan frying monkfish like a pro!
This past weekend was my turn and I had no idea what might be in my cooking future, but I had scoured dozens of recipes in my cookbook collection and felt pretty confident. I picked up my three seafood items at Western Wake Farmers Market (one of the three area markets where you’ll find Locals Seafood). I was given clams (yes!), dogfish (wait, I know there’s a beer by that name, right?) and ribbonfish (umm… what?!). Well, at least I didn’t have to worry about dressing the fish – they had already been beautifully boned and filleted.
While pondering what to do with the dogfish and ribbonfish, I decided to dive right into the clams and put together an Italian classic comfort food, linguine with clams.
I’m sure you’ve had this dish many times as I have, but I have to tell you that the fresh littleneck clams from Locals Seafood elevated this comfort meal to extraordinary (and I WILL be making this dish again soon). I followed the recipe in “Edible: A Celebration of Local Foods” (found online here). You probably have most of the ingredients you’ll need for this dish in your pantry: linguine, olive oil, butter, onion, garlic, dried oregano, black pepper, crushed red chili flakes, fresh parsley and a little bit of salt. You might need to buy a bottle of clam juice and a dry white wine (I used a Sauvignon Blanc from Las Perdices that I found at Sip… A Wine Store in Cary). I’d recommend serving with a crusty bread (like the ciabatta from La Farm Bakery) and a side salad to round out the menu.
I did find one method for removing sand from the clams very effective. Simply fill a bowl with cold water, add some salt to the water (a couple of tablespoons will do) then add the clams to the salty water. Cover the bowl and place in it your refrigerator for one and a half to two hours, gently stirring the clams every half hour. I found more sand was released from the clams using this method than simply washing them under running water. After that initial prep time, the dish comes together quickly (under 30 minutes).
So, one Winter Seafood dish conquered – two more to go! Up next is that dogfish, which as it turns out is actually a shark that shares my fondness for lobster and crab.