Steamed Mussels & Clams


Confessions of a SacFoodie:  I’m a terrible cook.  Don’t get me wrong – I love to cook, but saying that it doesn’t come naturally to me would be putting it lightly.  After all, about five years ago I was the girl standing in the produce section of Safeway on the phone with my mom, staring perplexedly at a vegetable display asking “so…what do I do with broccoli??”  Flash forward to today and my success tally in the kitchen is finally exceeding the failures.

Every now and then I get the urge to really overachieve in the kitchen.  You know, just dive in to a completely foreign recipe and see what happens – for better or worse.  When I have success, I savor each and every bite as if I were dining at a five-star restaurant.  And when the results aren’t as palatable?  Well, let’s just say I’m not one to waste food.

My most recent culinary success was the most exciting to date: Steamed Mussels & Clams.  The thought of preparing shellfish always seemed a bit too far out of my league, but after giving it a shot and tasting the delicious end result, I’m excited to keep this recipe in my back pocket and tally it as a success.

Steamed Mussels & Clams (recipe courtesy of Big, Bold, Beautiful Food)

3 pounds mussels and clams
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large shallot, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 or 2 tomatoes, diced
Dry white wine (like Chardonnay)
Red pepper flakes, to taste
Fresh parsley, minced

To prepare and clean the mussels and clams, place them in a large bowl or sink filled with water and a heavy amount of black pepper.  Let sit for 30 minutes.  Rinse and set aside.

Heat a paella pan or large pot over medium heat.  Once the pot/pan is hot, add olive oil followed by the shallots and garlic.  Add a few sprinkles of the red pepper flakes and a little salt.  Sauté the garlic and shallots for a minute or two until translucent.  Add the tomatoes, stir them around, and then add the wine.  Let simmer for a minute.

Add mussels and clams, cover the pot and cook over medium-high heat.  Check the pot every 1 1/2 minutes or so, turning the shellfish when you check them, then recover.  The mussels and clams will be done cooking when they open.  This can happen quickly, so be sure to keep an eye on them so you don’t overcook them.  Top with parsley and season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste.

I prepared some rice on the side and served the shellfish and broth over a few scoops.  Enjoy!

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