Clams in Garlic and Wine Sauce with Water Cress for the Spring


The weather is definitely taking a turn and we’re hopefully finally saying goodbye to winter and hello to the spring! And for me personally, nothing says welcome warmer temperatures quite like grilling and seafood. Unfortunately though, our grill is currently in the process of being repaired. So I’ll go to my second favorite spring time meal, seafood; more specifically clams!

Words cannot describe how much I adore linguine with clams. My husband in fact gets annoyed with me sometimes because I’ll order it pretty much whenever I see it on the menu. The restaurant at the Westin Dulles actually makes one of the best linguine with clams dishes I’ve had. I know it sounds strange to rave about hotel food. But the chef at Padella makes his own linguine and only uses the freshest of ingredients. His dish is so light, refreshing and intoxicatingly aromatic. He uses just enough herbs and garlic to compliment the delicate clams, and his sauce perfectly coats the handmade pasta.

I want to recreate this dish at home and make it more Paleo friendly. What that means is that I’ll be giving up on making my own pasta tonight and instead, opt for some vegetables to accompany the clams. I am going to use watercress, they have the same delicate and mild flavors like the clam, so it won’t overpower the clams in the sauce.

One note I want to pass along, if you plan on storing the clams before using them, make sure you place them in a large bowl over ice, and leave them uncovered. They need to breathe. The way I like to clean them is by placing them in a large bowl of cold water and rinsing and soaking, repeating this process a few times to filter out the dirt and sediment. Then using a vegetable brush, scrub them under cold water and place in a dry bowl, and they are ready to use.

Cook Time: 10 minutes
Serving Size: 2

2lbs Manila clams, cleaned and scrubbed
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup finely chopped shallots
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Zest of 1 large lemon
1 dried bay leaf
1/2 tsp dried red pepper flakes
1 cup dry white wine
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 cups water cress

In a large Dutch oven, over high heat, add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, then add the clams. Stir in the shallots, garlic, lemon zest, bay leaf and red pepper flakes. Add the wine, cover tightly and cook for about 5-7 minutes, or until the clams open. Toss the water cress and season with a little salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to low, cover and allow to simmer for about 2-3 minutes, until the water cress are tender.

Using tongs, divide the veggies and clams among two wide bowls. Discard the bay leaf. Squeeze some fresh lemon juice over top and serve immediately.

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