So here are my linguine alle vongole. Heavy on the clams. Light on the pictures.
On Friday evening I had a desperate desire to be on holiday. And holiday for me means Italy, the sea, ice cold white wine or a bright orange aperol spritz, fresh anchovies, sunbathing on a rocky beach, and linguine with clams. Their glossy olive oily, winey juices are the stuff that my holiday dreams are made of.
|Yes, I know it's Spanish, but it was the best I could do...|
First stop, chez Guy, Paris' best fishmonger. His shop, on the rue Montorgueil in the 2nd is actually called Soguisa if you are looking for it. But he is Guy, so to me chez Guy it is. I am actually convinced that he is my best friend (sorry Tobes...). It's a bit like Audrey Hepburn explaining that nothing bad could ever happen to you at Tiffanys. To me, nothing bad could ever happen chez Guy. Although I am starting to think his affections are wavering. Last week he gave his phone number to my mother...
Anyway, I digress. Chez Guy I buy a huge bag of clams, plucked that morning from the Normandy waters. When I ask if they were fished that morning, Guy replies "affirmative Bébé." He calls me Bébé. Don't ask.
In italian they are vongole, in French palourdes and in English, well just make sure they are the big, fat ones, not the tiny winkle variety. Other ingredients: De Cecco Linguine or Spaghetti, dried red chilli (practically the most important thing in my condiment's cupboard - sorry, I don't really have a condiment's cupboard), garlic, flat leaf parsley, white wine (or white vermouth - handy for a concurrent martini if you fancy) and olive oil.
As soon as you get home, plunge the clams into a bowl of cold water. Every five minutes or so, drain them and start again. Do this about five times to get rid of any sand.
Boil a large quantity of salted water in your biggest pan. When it is heaving like the Med on a stormy day, add the linguine. Simultaneously, fry finely sliced garlic and a pinch of dried chill in a large frying pan. When the garlic is golden, add the drained clams, sloosh a large glass if white wine over them and clamp on the lid so that the steam can't escape. Steam them open for about 5 minutes. When you lift off the lid, you will be in Positano, I promise.
By this time, your linguine should be cooked al dente. Drain, add a sloosh of olive oil, a pinch of salt, a handful of chopped parsley and the clams. Their juices should suffice to coat the pasta and provide that glossy olive oily, winey sauce that this dish is famed for.