clams and salt

I was cooking dinner the other day when my son came in the kitchen and noticed four open cans of clams. He begged to have just one and pretty soon all of my kids were snitching clams when I wasn’t looking. Needless to say, clams are a big hit in our family. Sadly, we don’t have easy access to fresh seafood here in Utah so I keep canned clams in my pantry.

These next two recipes are very simple and use ingredients that I almost always have on hand. One of which is SF Salt Company’s Herbs De Provence salt. This salt is enhanced with a variety of herbs that truly enhances the flavor of the clams and creates a nice depth to the dish.

Keep in mind that all of the amounts are approximate. I cook to taste and rarely measure anything. I don’t like garlic to overpower the dish so I’m pretty conservative with it, but if you love garlic go ahead and double it. Also, I used pepper flakes made from super chilis that we grew in our garden last summer. They have a pretty good kick to them so I used them sparingly. Just remember you can always add more, but you can’t take it away. So, without further ado, I bring you Tomato Clam Pasta and Clam Chowder.

Tomato Clam Pasta

1 onion diced
2 carrots shredded
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 pinch Herbs De Provence salt

Cook stirring frequently in a heavy saucepan, I use my enameled cast iron dutch oven, over medium heat until the onions soften and turn translucent.

2 cloves garlic creamed or finely diced
3 15 oz cans petite diced tomatoes
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
1 6 oz can tomato paste
½ Tbsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
½ tsp Herbs De Provence salt
Juice from 4 6.5 oz cans of chopped and/or minced clams. I like a combination of both.
3 bay leaves
Red pepper flakes to taste

Stir and simmer over medium-low for about 20-30 minutes, or longer, to allow flavors to blend. In the meantime cook your pasta in salted water until al dente and prepare a vegetable side. This dish goes great with steamed carrots tossed with the same salt or a nice side salad.

After simmering the sauce add the clams and continue cooking for about five minutes longer to heat the clams through. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed. Serve over hot pasta and top with freshly grated parmesan or asiago cheese.

spaghetti and carrots

Clam Chowder

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

4 Yukon Gold or red potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces, skins on
5 carrots peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces

Toss veggies with 1 Tbsp avocado oil and ½ tsp. Herbs De Provence salt and bake in a single layer until soft, but not mushy. This will take about 30 minutes, but check them after about 15 minutes. Baking the potatoes prevents them from falling apart in the chowder and creates a nice texture with the veggies.

While the veggies are baking, place your dutch oven over medium heat and cook stirring frequently:

1 onion, diced
4 stalks of celery, sliced
1 Tbsp avocado oil
1 pinch Herbs De Provence salt

When the onions are soft add:

4 Tbsp butter
6 Tbsp flour
¼ tsp Herbs De Provence salt

Stir and cook for a couple of minutes to break down the starch in the flour. Then add, while whisking constantly:

2 cups milk
1 12 oz can evaporated milk
12 oz water
Juice from 4 6.5 oz cans of clams

Continue whisking over medium heat until soup comes to a boil. Add clams and baked veggies and then remove from heat. Taste for seasoning and add freshly ground pepper and hot sauce to taste. Serve with a good crusty bread.

bowl of soup

I always have evaporated milk in my pantry and like the richness it adds to the milk, but feel free to use just milk, half and half, cream or any combination of the above. As my sweet aunt always used to say, “It’s your stomach.” Now, enjoy the rest of the cold weather with a nice clam dinner and let me know how it turns out.