I am really into pulverizing food lately. In addition to my daily dose of fruit smoothie in the morning, I've also been experimenting with finely chopped foods. Chopping things can only be a pleasure if you have a really sharp knife, which is why I've been religiously sharpening my knifes this past month. If you don't have a sharp knife, chopping is probably one of the most dangerous and frustrating tasks in the kitchen. I do not recommend making this if you don't have a sharp knife handy!
Finely chopping food not only brings out the flavors of each ingredient but allows them to co-mingle with each other and cook evenly. Chopping food finely for a pasta sauce has pretty obvious benefits including coating each strand evenly.
For this pasta recipe, I asked myself: what could be better than a mound of sautéed Japanese mushrooms? And the answer was -- a mound of sautéed Japanese mushrooms with clams!
Luckily I found some really delicious-looking clams at my local fish market. The shells were a beautiful bright blue inside.
I call this Chopped Shiitake +Clam Pasta.
2 servings of fresh or dry pasta
1 package of enoki
5-10 cloves of garlic
1lb of clams
1/2 cup of sake
2 tbsp of butter or olive oil
1 tbsp of salt
Spicy basil leaves or parsley for garnish
1. Soak the clams in cold water for at least 15 minutes. Keep in the refrigerator while they soak.
2. Chop shiitake and enoki into the smallest bits possible. Mine were about 1/4 inch cubes. Chop or grate the garlic into small bits.
3. Put the sake and clams into a large pot. Steam by turning on heat to high and closing the lid. Be careful not to over-steam. My clam shells opened in less than two minutes. I ended up steaming them for only about 3 minutes.
4. Once the clams have steamed, separate the insides from the shells with a pick or chopsticks. Save the "juice" left in the pot from the steam bath, by transferring it into a bowl.
5. Chop the clam insides well.
6. In the same pot that the clams steamed in, add butter or olive oil and heat on high. As soon as it gets hot, saute the mushroom and garlic mixture until they brown and wilt.
7. Add the chopped clams to the pot and saute for about 3 minutes or until you start to smell the aroma of the mixture. Salt generously.
8. Reduce to low heat and add the "juice" you saved from Step #4. Simmer while you boil the pasta.
9. Boil the pasta according to the instructions on the package. Don't forget to salt the water.
10. Once the pasta is ready, plate each serving and top with half of the sauce. Here I garnished with spicy basil.
This dish really made the house smell amazing. The mushrooms, garlic, clams and butter do all the magic. Although this recipe is quite simple, leave enough time for chopping and salt well.