Killer Clam Sauce
Coming from a proud Catholic background, I’ve observed a period of lent all my life. Lent is 40 days of sacrifice preparing for Easter and during this time, meat is forbidden on Fridays. The reasoning is to replace longing for the thing you gave up with thoughts of God.
So through my entire childhood, March has been the month to eat seafood. I know many consider fish and shellfish meat, but it’s technically not part of the abstinence.
Clams are one of my favorite shellfish when they’re fresh. They’re so sweet with a slight chew, salty flavor and are not given the credit they deserve as a super-food.
When clams aren’t readily available or in season, canned are a great economical option. A can of clams is usually $1-$2 and with a few more ingredients can feed a family of 6!
Clams are a great source of Iron, Vitamin C, B12, Phosphorous, Copper, Manganese and Selenium.
My killer clam sauce has both whole baby clams and minced clams with bright lemon and fresh parsley, dispersed in a spicy and rustic tomato sauce. I love it served over pasta!
I did a cost analysis of this meal and it was quite interesting.
Whole wheat linguine…1.59
Canned plum tomatoes…1.69
Mushrooms… 2.00/2 (half the container)
Parsley… 1.50/5 (one fifth of the bunch)
Total… $9.87 Serves: 6
Cost per serving…$1.65
Killer Clam Sauce With Linguine
- 1 bulb of garlic (about 12 cloves)
- 1.5 cups crimini mushrooms (about 4-5 oz)
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Pinch of salt
- 1/4- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- Juice and zest of one lemon
- 28 oz can whole plum tomatoes
- 1 tbsp capers, if desired
- 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley
- 10 oz can whole baby clams
- 6.5 oz can minced clams in clam juice
- 1 lb whole grain linguine
Mince the garlic until fine. Slice the mushrooms.
Why so much garlic? The garlic mellows out in the sauce but compliments the shell fish flavors nicely. It packs a nutritional punch and is a wonderful flavor.
Heat a large skillet over a medium flame and add the oil. When warm, add the garlic and salt. Cook for about 5 minutes, making sure the garlic doesn’t burn.
Why? Unlike onions and leeks, garlic develops an unpleasant bitter flavor when it burns. You’ll want to avoid this.
Add the red pepper flakes and mushrooms, then increase the heat to high. Cook the mushrooms until they turn a darker brown, about 7-10 minutes. Meanwhile, put a large pan of water on the stove for the pasta.
Meanwhile, crush the canned tomatoes by hand.
Why? The inconsistent size and rustic feel adds a lot to this dish.
Add zest then juice of one lemon.
Why? Zesting is much easier to do when the lemon is whole. Once it’s zested, cut it in half, remove the seeds and juice it with a fork. You will get the most out of it this way.
Add the tomatoes and stir. Add the capers if desired. (I love the flavor of capers and sea together.)
Drain the whole baby clams but reserve the juice of the minced clams in clam juice. Add both to the sauce, and add 3/4 of the parsley.
Why? The whole baby clams are packed in water, salt and possibly preservatives. We want to remove this water. The minced clams are packed in their own flavorful juice so it will add depth to the sauce.
The pasta water should be boiling. Add 1-2 tbsp of salt and then taste the water. It should taste as salty as seawater. This ensures the linguine will be flavorful. Cook the linguine for 7 minutes, or until al dente.
Drain the pasta, then toss with half of the sauce. Distribute on six plates, add an additional ladle of sauce to each plate, then garnish with parsley.
Please note, the colors in the ingredient list distinguish each phase they are added in to make it easier for you.
Did you know…
Clams are also an excellent source of Omega 3 fatty acids? They’re anti-inflammatory due to these fats.
Here are the Nutrition Facts:
Nutrition: Calories 334, Total fat 3.7g (.5g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol 6mg, Sodium 790mg, Total Carb 68.3g (Fiber 2g, Sugars 4.5g) Protein 15.1g, Vitamin A 27%, Vitamin C 43%, Calcium 6%, Iron 20%
Nutritious, inexpensive, fast, and delicious. What more could you ask for in one meal?
What’s your go to meal when you’re cooking for a crowd on a budget?