Friday, September 19, 2008

Last Days of Summer

As these last dog days of summer slip through our fingers I find myself grasping at whatever delicious pieces of summer remain. In the last few weeks I've torn through the remnants of summer fruit and vegetables at the farmer's market and chased down the last few decent heirloom tomatoes. Although I'm looking forward to the bounty of fall produce, the change of pace and lovely sumptuous soups, it seems that I can't come to terms with a summer lost. I had no seaside vacation, no mixed grill or broiled lobster tail. The hurricane season this year stomped on all my hopes and dreams for stone crabs, forced me to cancel my vacation, and has left me with another year of embarrassingly pale skin. But the one thing it can't do is keep me from recreating my favorite summer and seaside dishes at home.

Not willing to let something minor like a class 4 hurricane hold me down, I decided to take the days off I'd set aside for my Miami vacation and put them to good use. In addition to doing the truckload of laundry taking up half of my bedroom, it was time to do some proper food shopping and spend the rest of the week making up for the summer food I missed out on. A quick trip to the fishmonger made it clear that there there would be crab cakes in my future, in addition to some sort of clam dish. I really love linguine with clams, so figured I could make my Spanish version of it. The base recipe is your typical linguine with clams sauce stuff, but I like to add a few of the ingredients that are more common in Spain and even Portugal.

The dish was great, chock full of smoky flavor from not only the bacon I added, but also the chorizo, which gave the sauce a lovely amber color and infused the whole dish with paprika. A tiny dash of saffron gave it a luxurious appeal and hinted at the flavors of a paella or seafood stew. It took less than 20 minutes to make, and the hardest thing I did was bring a large pot of water to a boil. I'll still need to make a few more summer inspired dishes to be fully satisfied, but this was a great start. Here's my recipe:

Pasta with Chorizo in Saffron Clam Sauce

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 slices bacon, cut into thin strips
1/4 cup chopped chorizo (cured, not fresh)
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 lb Mahogany clams or New Zealand cockles, scrubbed
1 cup bottled clam juice
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
5 strings saffron or 1/8 tsp powdered saffron
14 oz dried thin spaghetti or linguine
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
extra virgin olive oil

1. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Add bacon and sauté until browned, then add garlic and chorizo, sauté, stirring until golden, about 30 seconds.

2. Stir in clams, clam juice, wine, and saffron. Bring to a boil and cook covered, until clams open, about 4 to 5 minutes (discard any clams that do not open after 6 minutes).

3.While clams cook, cook pasta according to package directions. Remove pasta from water with tongs and add to skillet with clam mixture. Toss pasta with parsley and a slosh of olive oil. Enjoy!


No comments: