Living in Marlborough we are spoilt for choice when it comes to fresh local seafood. One of my most treasured childhood memories is being down the sounds with nana and grandad at our family bach and coming home off the boat mid-morning in time for our second breakfast of the day. This was always a whole flounder dusted in four and cooked by dad in lashings of butter. We were all served a golden flounder and whatever we didn’t eat, grandad would happily devour, roe included.
Cloudy Bay Clams is a lovely family-owned, local company (how gorgeous is their website!) and while I adore clams, I can’t believe I’ve never cooked them myself at home until today. But that’s all about to change! I guess I was slightly intimidated by these beautiful creatures, a wee bit afraid that I might not do them justice. But you need not be afraid if you are anything like me before today. This spaghetti dish is so simple to prepare and tastes absolutely delicious. I’ll admit I went back for seconds. It’s the kind of dish you want to curl up with, slurp from the bowl and perhaps get all over your chin. Maybe not a first date dish, but if it is eaten and enjoyed on a first date and you get asked out again, you know you have a keeper!
You’ll see below that the quantities aren’t precise but just follow your intuition and it should all be absolutely delicious I’m sure! I hope you enjoy this dish as much as I did – it might just become a staple at our house xx
Clam Spaghetti w Lemon & Parsley Cream – serves 2-3
1 Tbspn good quality olive oil
1 brown onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
Coarse iodised sea salt
~250g spaghetti (I used San Remo gluten-free spaghetti which cooks up really well if you need a GF alternative)
~4 cups Cloudy Bay Clams (I used Tua Tua and Storm Clams) – admittedly I didn’t measure precisely so you could add more or less depending upon how many clams you wanted or had.
Splash of white wine or recently boiled water
Dash cream (~1/4 cup)
1 Tbspn green pesto (you could use parsley or basil pesto)
Zest of half a lemon
1 large handful fresh parsley, finely chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
Cook the spaghetti until al dente according to the directions.
Meanwhile heat the olive oil in a deep pan that has a tightly fitted lid. Add the onion, garlic and salt and cook until softened.
Turn the heat up to high (just watch the onion and garlic or take it off the heat while the element gets hot!). Before you put the clams into the pan it needs to be hot. Once hot, add the clams and the wine or hot water and quickly put on the lid. Give the pan a shake to stir the onion and garlic throughout the clams. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until the clams have opened.
Turn off the heat to the clam pan, drain the spaghetti and add to the pan along with the cream, pesto, parsley and lemon zest. Stir everything together and season with freshly ground black pepper. Place into serving bowls and pour over any remaining sauce.