Last weekend I went home and like every time, I tried to eat some fresh fish as I miss it so much here in Geneva; I’m definitely a real seafood lover and living between mountains really doesn’t help right now!
My Mum has her trusted fishmonger and she came home with a bag full of fresh ‘vongole‘ (clams in English) and we couldn’t resist; we wanted to eat them immediately even if usually you should leave them for a few hours in cold water so they can ‘spit out’ their sand.
The good thing about having your trusted fishmonger in not only that you always get the best fish that comes to the market, but sometimes you also learn some very useful tricks…
In this case he told her that to get rid of the sand from your calms and save your dinner and your guests from a terrible unwanted crunchy-sandy pasta, you can actually cheat a little!
Meaning you don’t have to leave your vongole in water for a long time, hoping that they will be so kind as to spit out ALL the sand, you can cook them half way and wash the sand away before finishig to cook them.
So, even if I was reluctant because the poetry of the dish is a bit compromised, we followed his tips and had no sand on our plate!
Vongole – ask your fishmonger how many depending on the number of people eating in your company!
A garlic clove – fresh garlic is definitely the best!
10-20 Cherry Tomatoes
100 gr Linguine – or Bavette – pasta per person
There is no mistake that can be made regarding the quantities: as soon as you know for how many people you’re cooking everything is easy. Get the right amount of clams from your fishmonger and add as many tomatoes as you want to make a good sauce; there isn’t a right or wrong quantity and if you leave it short you can just add some nice olive oil before serving.
The first thing you should do is wash your vongole in cold water and leave them inside a bowl full of water while you prepare the tomatoes.
I cut the tomatoes in halves or quarters; peeled a garlic clove and chopped it roughly; threw everything inside a large frying pan where I preheated some olive oil and I let it cook.
Rinse your vongole and put them inside a pot without adding anything, cover it, and cook it until all the vongole have opened.
Now it’s time to cheat and use my Mum’s fishmonger’s trick: take the vongole out of the pot, get rid of most of the shells – keep just a few for decoration – wash the vongole without their shells in some water and put them back on the stove, adding them to the tomatoes and garlic!
Before throwing away the water from the clams pot pour it into a glass using a sieve, (to make sure you’re not pouring sand as well), and add some of it to the tomatoes.
The clams have to cook a bit longer so add parsley and salt – taste it before adding salt as the clam’s water can be very salty! – stir and cook some more.
Leave your pasta al dente, rinse it and cook it for 1 or 2 more minutes inside the pan with the sauce!
If it seems a bit dry add a few drops of olive oil before serving it; sprinkle some fresh parsley on top.
P.S. Definitely my favourite sea food!