Wednesday, February 23, 2011

New England Inspired Meals

As some of you knew, I was just at Portland, Maine again... I love, love, love that place... probably would move there if it's not so cold in the winter!  Love the seafood there - so fresh, so delicious.  I went to Harbor Fish Market just off Commerce/Rt 1 and picked up some goodies (smoked trout, smoked bluefish, and fresh minced clams in a tub).  The smoked trout are consumed as delicious snacks daily in lieu of a real meal at work and I made Linguine con le Vongole (Linguine with Clams) and New England Clam Chowder using my fresh clams.  Both dishes were so easy to make - great for a weekday dinner. 


Linguine con le Vongole (Linguine with Clams) 

the ensemble of ingredients
I used the recipe from my Mario Batali iPhone app so I am not going to post the exact measurements of what was used but you can pretty much tell from the picture that it is really simple.

The olive oil is actually a splurge - recommended per the Batali app.  It actually does taste different from the cheap stuff I normally get!   (I was determined to hold Mario accountable if it wasn't good but I was not disappointed)
Linguine con le Vongole
Just be aware the fresh minced clams are very quick to cook so don't follow the instruction in the video... your clams will be too tough!  The recipe called for dry white wine... but I used what I had and it turned out delicious!  I also didn't use parsley... it's just not my thing... and I used cilantro instead :)

I really enjoyed it!  For some reason I could almost taste a hint of lemon in the dish, which I found appealing (maybe it was from my red pepper flakes?) and I actually ate 2 servings... (I ended up eating crackers for lunch today since that 2nd serving was supposed to be my lunch...)

New England Clam Chowder
 
More bacon!
Tired of insufficient clams, bacon, etc., too much salt, or a chowder that is too thick?  I am!!  I love New England Clam Chowder but very few restaurants made it the way I like... so here we go, DIY is your best friend... (same thing with milk shakes)

Ingredients: 1 medium potato, 1 small onion, 2 small carrots, 5 slices of thick cut bacon, 1/2 tub of minced clams, ~2 cups of half-and-half, 2 tbsp butter, 2 tbsp flour, salt & pepper to taste, cilantro to garnish
New England Clam Chowder
Directions: Saute the bacon, add veggies when the bacon starts to brown, cook until the potatoes are just about done.  Add the clam juice and stir until juice is absorbed.  Meanwhile, heat the butter and add the flour to make a rue.  Add half-and-half (adjust the amount of half-and-half based on how thick/thin you like your chowder).  Heat, not boil.  When the cream and rue is incorporated and smooth (I used a whisk), add the veggies (it should be done by this time if you are doing both concurrently) and again incorporate the two.  Do not boil.  Add the minced clams when you are ready to serve and salt and pepper to taste.  Garnish with cilantro or any other herb you desire. 

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