This is my attempt to deal with my post-holiday blues. As I mentioned in the May e-newsletter (you can subscribe to this over on the right), this time, last year, I was taking my dream holiday in Europe. One of the most memorable places I visited during that trip in terms of food would have to be Barcelona. To this day, I can still close my eyes and really smell and visualise the surroundings of the Boqueria Market.
I love the incredible colours, the abundance of jamon and fresh seafood and the spectacular display of fruits - whole, glacéd, squeezed or peeled and cut up.
Apart from my daily dose of pan con tomate y jamon (a popular Catalonian dish of bread with tomato and served with Spanish ham), I also discovered razor clams which quickly became part of my European diet.
Razor clams have a long narrow shell and are much more meatier than your typical vongole, surf clam or pipi. Anything with a high food-reward:effort ratio is an instant favourite of mine.
Unfortunately, I didn't have time to hunt for these Atlantic razor clams in Sydney so settled with Pacific razor clams which I found in the frozen section of a local fish market. Pacific razor clams are more oblong in shape.
This is an easy peasy recipe which can be cooked up within a short period of time. The hardest and most time consuming part would probably be the cleaning of the clams. Apart from that, all the vegetables just need to be chopped up into matchsticks.
One-pot wonders are the ultimate midweek dish because they're also pretty much fail-proof.
Adapted from Epicurious
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ small red onion, thinly sliced
2 large ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, chopped
¾ cup dry white wine
1½ cups fish stock
½ kg Pacific razor clams, scrubbed
½ kg clams, scrubbed
1½ cups matchstick-size strips fennel (about 1 bulb)
1 cup matchstick-size strips red capsicum
1 cup matchstick-size strips zucchini
½ kg chorizo sausage, cut into cubes
½ cup Kalamata olives, pitted, halved
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
¾ cup pearl couscous
Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add onion; sauté 2 minutes. Add tomatoes; sauté 4 minutes. Increase heat to high; add wine. Boil until reduced by half, about 2 minutes.
Add fish stock; simmer 3 minutes. Add clams; cover and cook 3 minutes.
Mix in fennel, bell pepper, and zucchini. Add sausage, and olives. Cover; bring to boil.
Reduce heat to medium; simmer until shellfish open, about 5 minutes (discard any that do not open). Sprinkle with parsley and serve.
You will find that the gorgeous clam flavours are accentuated with the addition of beautiful winter vegetables. The stew is rich and robust - a wonderful winter warmer!
You can omit the pearl couscous if you prefer to mop up the broth with some crusty bread. Or do both... Why not? :)