Here is a can’t-get-simpler way with clams that has a good kick. Some people may like a squeeze of lemon juice over their serving. Follow on from here with a strongly flavoured dish that won’t pale.
Soak the clams in a large bowl of cold salted water for a couple of hours to get rid of any sand. Give them a good swishing around in the soaking water a few times and change the water if there is any sand. Discard any clams that are well opened.
In a large frying pan that will hold all your pasta later, heat the garlic in the olive oil until it smells good. Add the drained clams, parsley clump, wine and a grind of pepper. Cover and turn the heat right up to steam the clams open. This should only take 5 minutes or so. Check to see if they’ve opened and give it a couple more minutes for any that haven’t. Remove from the heat and cool a tad.
Discard any clams that haven’t opened. When they are cool enough to handle, pluck out around half of the clam meat, putting it back in the pan and discarding those shells. Leave the rest of the clams in their shells in the pan. Remove the parsley clump. Check that there is no sand on the bottom of the pan and therefore no need to filter in the clam water.
Bring a pot of salted water to the boil and cook the spaghetti to al dente. When the pasta is just about ready, put the pan holding the clams over a high flame to heat through, then add the drained spaghetti. Turn through well and let it heat together for a minute. Scatter with just enough parsley to add a dash of colour and serve at once with a grind of black pepper and a good shake of Tabasco — as much as you can take. Serve with an extra drizzle of olive oil and a plate for the shells.
© 2012 All rights reserved. Published by Murdoch Books.