In the current issue of Eating Well Magazine you will find this great article on shellfish written by Rowan Jacobsen with recipes from me. Nicely photographed, it talks about such things as shellfish farming (very sustainable) along with facts you should know about buying, storing and cooking oysters, mussels and clams.
One of my favorite simple recipes using clams is included: Miso Soup with Clams and Spinach. Here it is for you to try!
MISO SOUP WITH CLAMS AND SPINACH
The clams are steamed in a dashi broth, removed from the shell and then added back to the soup. Dash is the fundamental, basic cooking stock of Japanese cuisine and is made from kelp and a specially dried and smoked fish, usually bonito tuna. You can make it from scratch (refer to a good Japanese cookbook) but the easiest is to use instant dashi granules (called hon dashi) in hot water. They are very good and available where Japanese ingredients are sold. You could also use mussels for this soup.
16 littleneck or 24 smaller clams such as manila
3 cups dashi made from instant granules
2 tablespoons white miso (known as Shiro miso)
2 cups or so gently packed young spinach leaves
Toasted or hot pepper sesame oil
3 tablespoons thinly sliced (on the bias) green onions
Wash clams thoroughly to remove any grit. In a deep sauce pan bring the dashi to a boil. Add the clams, cover and cook until clams open. Discard any that don’t. Remove clams from broth, cool and remove and reserve clam meat discarding the shells.
Strain the broth through a fine mesh strainer or cheese cloth to catch any errant grit. Return to pan and bring to a simmer. In a small bowl combine the miso with 3 tablespoons or so of the broth and stir into a smooth paste. Whisk into broth. Add spinach and cook until wilted, about 1 minute.
Divide clams among 4 warm bowls along with a couple of drops of sesame oil. Ladle hot broth and spinach over and top with green onions. Serve immediately.