This article first appeared in Times Live and is entitled “Four Quick Tapas Recipes for Easy Entertaining”. Here I’ve adapted my original post slightly in order to make it blog-relevant.
Started when late afternoon bar patrons used small coasters to protect their tipple from thirsty flies, tapas has since infiltrated the global cuisine scene. Loosely translated, tapas means “to cover” and soon these small coasters became plates of light bites like grilled chorizo or marinated olives. Ideal for eating in late summer’s lethargy, tapas are an enjoyably simple way to cater for friends. I was fortunate enough to stumble upon a copy of Nieves Barragán Mohacho’s Sabor cookbook last December and have poring over her take on off-duty Spanish cuisine ever since. Naturally drawn to the seafood chapter, I’ve been hankering to give her recipe for Clams in Salsa Verde a go. A simpler dish than Moules Mariniere, teeny tasty clams are simmered in a sauce of white wine, olive oil, parsley and garlic. Always allured by aesthetics, I figured that the verdant hue of the salsa verde would perfectly offset my Le Creuset casserole in Sage.
Ideal for a light supper for two, my version makes use of chicken stock instead of Mohacho’s recommended fish stock – a detail that exists purely because I happened to have a litre of homemade chicken stock at hand. I did find that the use of a chicken stock gives the dish depth and makes it a little more robust – especially if paired with a fuller white wine like my latest find, The Fledge & Co’s Fumé Blanc.
Not often readily available in South Africa, I discovered my clams in (shock horror) the frozen section of my local fishmonger. Usually imported from Italy, these little chaps should be slowly defrosted in the bowl in the refrigerator before steamed whole in the salsa verde. Usually the clams have a pale ecru-hued shell with a black stripe, and so I was pleasantly surprised at the beautifully patterned shells of this kind. In the event of no clams, I do feel that mussels would also taste exquisite when bathed in the sauce. Just don’t forget the crusty bread!
Clams in Salsa Verde
Prep time: 10 minutes/Cook time: 8 minutes/Serves: 2
You will need:
- 500g of frozen Italian clams, defrosted
- 1 shallot, finely sliced
- 30ml olive oil, for frying
- 250ml chicken stock
- 100ml dry white wine
- 1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
- Coarse ground sea salt and black pepper
- A big handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
Place a lidded casserole over medium heat and sauté the shallot in the olive oil until translucent. Deglaze the dish with the stock then reduce the liquid by half. Add the wine and the crushed garlic then scatter in half of the parsley and stir to combine. Season to taste, with minimal salt. Once the sauce has thickened, add in the clams. The natural liquor from the clams will loosen up the sauce. Cover the dish with its lid and steam for about 6 to 8 minutes, or until all the clams have opened – being sure to discard any that haven’t.
Scatter the remaining parsley over the top of the dish, drizzle with a little olive oil and serve the clams immediately with lemon wedges and crusty bread.