I’m very excited about sharing today’s recipe. For the very first time in my life (I think), I tasted littleneck clams. My report to you is that they are fantastic. I’ve eaten mussels so many times, I think I’m numb to them. Littleneck clams, however, are new and simply fantastic. Not that I still don’t love mussels or anything…
As I was eating the clams last night, I kept telling Laura how buttery they were. There’s a true distinction from mussels. I don’t think it was any ingredient I used in the recipe either because butter was nowhere to be found. They’re a bit chewier and somewhat smaller than mussels, but I have to say, they taste better.
This is a relatively simple recipe to prepare. Since pearl couscous is involved, that needs to be cooked. Then, the leeks need to be softened and combined with some dried thyme, garlic and vermouth. That’s cooked for a while and then the clams are added to the same pot as the above. When the clams open, the cooking is finished and you can add the tomatoes and parsley. Serve and you’re all set to go.
I will warn you, if you’re into cooking mussels as much as I am, these littleneck clams take longer to open than the mussels do. While I can get the mussels to open in just a few minutes, these take every bit of eight to ten minutes to fully cook. It’s not a big deal – I know. I just wanted to let you know as you’re staring at the pot wondering what’s going on.
2 Cups Regular or Whole Grain Pearl Couscous
Ground Black Pepper
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
2 Large Leeks, Cleaned, Trimmed and Cut into 1/2 Inch Pieces
1 Teaspoons Garlic, Minced
1 Teaspoon Dried Thyme
1 Cup Dry Vermouth
3 Large Tomatoes, Cored and Cut into 1/2 Inch Pieces
2 Pounds Littleneck Clams, Cleaned
1/2 Cup Parsley, Minced
I’d like to thank America’s Test Kitchen for their wonderful resource titled The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook. I pulled this recipe from it. This book has been my best friend this past few weeks and it’s a true gift that I’m able to use it as a resources as much as I do.
Cook the Couscous
Fill a large pot about half way with water. Add 2 teaspoons of salt and bring the water to a boil over high heat. Once the water is boiling, add the couscous.
Allow the couscous to cook for about 10 minutes or until it’s soft, but firm, to the bite. When it’s finished, drain the pot into a colander.
Next, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a large bowl and pour the couscous into the bowl. Stir everything so the pasta is coated with the oil and set aside for later use.
Here’s a tip. I’ve eaten both regular and whole wheat couscous. I tend to like the whole wheat better. I bought Bob’s Red Mill brand, so I encourage you to give that a try. It’s got a nuttier flavor and it’s very nice.
Soften the Leeks
In the same (now empty) pot you used for the couscous, add 2 more tablespoons of olive oil. Warm the pot over medium heat and when it’s to temperature, add in the leeks.
Cook the leeks, while stirring, for about 4 minutes or until they are slightly softened. At that point, add in the dried thyme. Cook for another minute while stirring.
Add Vermouth & Clams
After that’s finished, go ahead and add the cup of vermouth and garlic and stir these ingredients into the leeks. Let it steam for about a minute and then add the clams to the mix.
Cover the pot and let the clams steam anywhere from 8 to 10 minutes. You’ll know they’re finished when they open. If some don’t, discard them.
Remove the Clams
When the clams are finished, remove them from the pot, one by one. Place them in a bowl.
Then, add the tomatoes and parsley to the pot with the leeks in it and stir to combine. Also add in the couscous and stir again.
Give this mixture a taste and season with salt and pepper to your liking.
Plate & Serve
Divide the couscous mixture between plates or bowls. Then, divide the clams among the plates as well. Serve and enjoy.
The Final Couscous & Clam Dish
This was a very good dish. I’m still thinking about it. It was light, yet filling and was perfect for the season. Give this a try and let me know what you think. Thanks for reading!