Sunday, January 04, 2009

The Silence Of The Clams

Sunday we schlepped into town to shop at the big supermarket because they've actually got the beginnings of a decent organic produce section there, and the other stuff we needed is way cheaper than at our little local joint. It pisses me off, but the difference in price makes it well worth the 16 mile round trip. I'm trying to buy more in a trip, but go less often, and figure that my haphazard meal-planning style will mean enough trips to the local places to spread the love. Or something.

I had it my head to get mussels, because they have the good Ommegang beer there, and it's a no-brainer combination. But their mussels were not so fresh. Maine Littlenecks, on the other hand, were just in, so we brought 18 nice ones home. I made a quick dice of leek, fennel, and carrot and threw it in a pan to sweat. Next two fat cloves of garlic, a pinch of herbes de Provence, and three tiny but firey pepperoncini. (I have now successfully raised Milo's tolerance to the point where he doesn't notice a decent baseline heat.) Once all that was soft, I added a glug of cream, a knife of tomato paste, and a pour of beer, followed by all the clams.

Once they all opened, the pasta (whole wheat spaghetti) was ready and the one went atop the other for a pretty tasty variant of spaghetti alle vongole. Sweet, plump, tangy, a little rich, a little spicy- bells were rung. And it was excellent with the beer: a Rare Vos, their amber ale, which I think is my favorite; it's more like a bitter and less creamy and cloying than some of the others. It ended up as a compelling and satisfying Italo-Belgian hybrid meal, but not so satisfying that I don't still want moules frites in the near future.


Brittany said...

those are beauties! I used to hate WW pasta, but now it's all I eat. Amazing how it grows on you..

Moules frites. Oh god yes please. Pub grub at it's finest.

Heather said...

This isn't quite envisioned, but I'll take it.

Clams. A little on the nose, dontcha think? Wink emoticon.

Zoomie said...

Reading "Moules Frites" sends me back to Belgium where My Beloved and I spent two wonderful weeks. I want to go again~

Heather said...

I commented from my phone, hence the numerous forgotten words such as "what" and "I".

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

These look amazing. And there's nothing like moules frites on a cold winter's evening.

peter said...

Brittany: I'm the same way, though I prefer the spaghetti; other types (penne) can get a little too mealy.

Blanche: You're a dirty, dirty girl. And I dig that about you.

Zoomie: Never been, but back in the day I logged a lot of hours at a moules frites joint in the onzième.

Blanche: Is your phone like Schroeder's piano? With some of the letters painted on?

Jen: They were splendid. And as soon as I find super-fresh mussels, moules frites will soon follow.

We Are Never Full said...

can you tell heather not to comment from her phone? that's SO affected!

your description of the clams actually made me salivate. that picture helped, too.

Zoomie said...

You'd love Belgium, understated but with a long, rich history and food to die for. I've heard there are more fine restaurants in Belgium than in the whole of France! We certainly ate well there between the moule frites and the plats du jour, plus one simply unforgettable meal in Spa!

Zoomie said...

P.S. Gorgeous picture - the light is amazing.

Brooke said...

Those made me pretty damn hungry. Whole wheat pasta has too much traction for me. But I'm working on it. I could totally dip a chunk of bread in there though.

How's that menu planning coming? It's not easy buying food that far in advance.

peter said...

Amy: These were superior clams. Very fat.

Zoomie: Someday. And the light is artificial, but I added more watts. It is better.

Brooke: I know; we had baguette envy. The planning? Not so much. I figure the big shops will be for pantry stuff and some veggies, but the fresh things need to be bought same-day. I need a personal shopper.

Hunter Angler Gardener Cook said...

Those poor clams look far from silent -- unless they are all doing the "silent scream." Oh, the humanity!