Glass Eel “Linguine” with Surf Clams

Ken serves this dish with tempura-fried fresh squash or zucchini blossoms either on top of the eels as a final garnish or as a side dish. In either case, sprinkle the blossoms with fleur de sel the moment they are cooked and serve them immediately.

Have all the ingredients ready to cook, because the dish takes just a few minutes to finish. And since the olive oil is basically the sauce, use the best quality you can find.

Ingredients

  • 1 small Hokigai or Japanese red surf clam
  • 1 small white surf clam
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced very thinly
  • 2 cups glass (baby) eels
  • 2 ounces Spanish ham, sliced very thinly
  • 1 tablespoon crushed hot red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives
  • fleur de sel sea salt

Method

Slice the outer solid parts of the clams (not the soft belly) into strips 2 inches long and 1/16 inch wide.

Put half the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet and heat until it sizzles when a drop of water is sprinkled into it. Then add the garlic slices, reduce the heat, and gently cook the garlic until it takes on a light brown color, 3 to 5 minutes.

The moment the garlic is colored, add the glass eels, raise the heat to medium-high, and cook, tossing all the time, until they are opaque, 2 to 3 minutes. Immediately transfer the eels to a heated mixing bowl and add the clams, ham, hot pepper, chives, and the remainder of the olive oil. Toss gently. Serve immediately in heated soup plates, with some fleur de sel sprinkled on top.

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