Oh, Daddy! Umami! Clam Fettuccine and Sea Urchin Amuse-Bouches

dorner-bay-clams-n-urchins-n

Fresh sea urchin appetizers, clams still wet with Chignik Bay brine, freshly made fettuccine, and  home-brewed Bavarian Weissbier – Ringing in 2017 Off the Beaten Path. Oh, Daddy! Umami! (Recipe below)

clam-fettucini-dorner-bay-n

When a friend showed up at our door on New Year’s Eve with a big bowl of fresh-from-the-sea clams and sea urchins, we immediately began planning out a celebratory dinner to greet 2017. While Barbra whipped up two servings of fettuccine, I set to work cleaning and preparing the seafood. A carafe of hot sake might have been perfect, but Barbra’s medium-bodied, slightly citrusy, Weissbier proved to be an excellent compliment to a shellfish feast that couldn’t have been any fresher.

sea-urchin-amuse-bouche-n

Umami Power: Sea urchin topped with salmon roe. Note to self: Stock a few bottles of sake for these occasions!

Clam Fettuccine for Two: This is a simple yet elegant dish. The standard butter and garlic mixture really comes to life with the addition of tarragon and a dash or two of grey sea salt.

Ingredients

  • Fettuccine
  • Cherrystone Clams, Butter Clams, Cockles or Ark Clams, rinsed to remove any debris. Clams should be closed tight. If a clam isn’t closed, give it a few vigorous taps. If it still doesn’t close, discard it, as it’s dead and may be unfit to eat.
  • Butter, preferably unsalted
  • Olive Oil
  • 4 large cloves of Garlic, chopped fine
  • 1/2 tsp dried Tarragon crumbled fine (or 1 tsp fresh chopped)
  • 1/4 tsp Coarse Grey Sea Salt
  • Nori (dried laver) cut into thin strips for garnish

Directions

  • Prepare the fettuccine as you normally would. Drain and then return to the pan with a little olive oil and toss together. This will prevent the noodles from sticking together.
  • In a small pan, heat about 6 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-low heat. Once butter has melted, place on very low heat to keep warm. Just before serving, return to medium heat, add the garlic, tarragon and sea salt and briefly cook while stirring. In about 30 seconds, you’ll begin to smell the aromas of the garlic and tarragon. Provided you have chopped the garlic fine, that’s all the cooking it needs.
  • Meanwhile, place clams in a metal strainer – one that will fit into a larger pot. Add an inch or so of water to the pot and place clams in strainer inside pot. The clams should be above the water so that they steam rather than boil. (Hint: If you place the clams inside a heat-proof bowl inside the strainer, you can save the juice from them as they steam open. The juice can be used in soups, sauces or in Bloody Mary Cocktails.) Cover clams with a lid and bring water to a boil. When clams are cooked, the shells will pop open. This generally takes about five minutes.
  • Meanwhile, place clams in a metal strainer – one that will fit into a larger pot. Add an inch or so of water to the pot and place clams in strainer inside pot. The clams should be above the water so that they steam rather than boil. (Hint: If you place the clams inside a heat-proof bowl inside the strainer, you can save the juice from them as they steam open. The juice can be used in soups, sauces or in Bloody Mary Cocktails.) Cover clams with a lid and bring water to a boil. When clams are cooked, the shells will pop open. This generally takes about five minutes.
  • Use a small knife to cut the clam’s abductor muscles away from the shell so that they can be easily eaten, but leave the clam meat inside the shell for a more attractive presentation.
  • Place the fettuccine on serving plates. (It helps to keep plates warm in the oven.) Arrange the clams on the plate. Pour the butter sauce on the clams and pasta. Add nori. Serve with slightly chilled Chardonnay or warm sake.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.