RECIPE: Fifteen Minute Clams

I've been thinking about sharing more of what happens in our kitchen since we published our first recipe, Ponche de Coco (Domincan Style Coquito), a recipe for a native Puerto Rican holiday drink that is thick, boozy, and sweet. Dominicans and Puerto Ricans alike make coquito to gift during the holiday season, and also to serve and enjoy with house guests. I grew up drinking virgin coquito and never thought I'd be able to learn how to make it let alone gift it and serve it to my own guests in my own home! (This is totally an "I grew up and didn't do too bad" moment.)

To start, I am not a chef but I love food. I grew up eating at the best restaurants in New York City with my father in the early 90's and 2000's. Some of our locals were Victor's Cafe, Tavern on the Green, El Quijote, and Carmine's amongst others.

My relationship with my long-time partner has become and continues to become deeper and stronger through food and the intimacy it offers. 

At our home, we cook when we feel like it, and when we don't, we go for a walk in our neighborhood, the South Bronx, to discover new restaurants, diners, and bars. 

This is where you can see where, what, and how I eat on the daily.

Now without further adieu:

15 Minute Clams

 Photographed by Amanda Saviñón

Photographed by Amanda Saviñón

Chinatown, NYC 
Fresh seafood starts selling at around 7am or 8am every morning on and around Grand Street in New York City. By 11am, most things are sold out. That is where I found these clams and this is how I made them.  

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Ingredients


3-4 handfuls of fresh clams
Olive oil
2 garlic cloves
2 shallots
a pinch of dry crushed red pepper
2 tablespoons of oyster sauce
1 cup of dry white wine
2-3 smashed Chinese black fermented beans (don't get scared and not try this recipe just because you've never cooked with an ingredient, instead make this the first time you use this ingredient.)
1 Yellow pepper
a half cup of cornstarch (optional)

The linked ingredients lead to the specific product I used for this recipe but you can use any alternative.

Step one:

Turn on your stove to medium-high heat, put enough oil (of your choice) to coat the bottom of the deep pan. As your pan heats up, wash your clams under running water to remove all of the dirt and sand. 

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Step two: 

Once the oil is hot, add 2-3 black fermented beans slightly smashed. These beans have a nice salty taste and add flavor to the clams different than that of salt. 

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Step three: 

Add in the chopped garlic and when it starts to brown a little, add the chopped shallots. As you add these ingredients, stir occasionally.  

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Step four: 

Add your clean clams into the pan, grip the handle of the pan and shake back and forth carefully.

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Step Five: 

Add one cup of your favorite (but cheap) wine to the clams. I mean you can go ahead and add an old vintage of Jermann's Where Dreams Have No End but wouldn't you rather taste that? Drink that? I used a 2016 Barrymore Wines Pinot Grigio from California for these clams. 

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Step six: 

At this time your clams should be popping open. That is how you know they are done. 

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Step Seven: 

Drip some oyster sauce on top of the clams and stir. 

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Step Eight: 

Add in the slices of yellow pepper and sprinkle in a pinch of dry crushed red pepper.

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Step nine: (optional)

I wanted to thicken up the sauce so I added half a cup of cornstarch in a bowl, mixed it with a little bit of water and added it to the clam sauce as I stirred. 

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Step Ten: 

Turn off the stove and let the clams sit in the pot for 2-3 minutes. Serve and let sit for 5 minutes while you pour yourself a glass of the leftover white wine you used for the clams. :) 

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Notes on: 


Cornstarch - I recently learned that iron-deficient folks crave cornstarch like they crave crushed ice or uncooked rice. 

Fermented Black Beans - Fermented black soybeans are the oldest-known food made from soybeans. In China, it is used primarily to flavor fish and vegetables. 

Where Dreams Have No End - This is my favorite white wine in the history of white wines. It is a buttery chardonnay best served crisp cold. As if it being my favorite wine wasn't enough, this wine was dedicated to U2′s “The Joshua Tree” album (1987) and specifically my favorite song to the song “Where the streets have no name”. This wine was created with the 1987 harvest and over the years its name has undergone a number of variations. 

Please send any suggestions, questions, recipes, thoughts, or just love notes you might want to share to LoyalNana@gmail.com

Happy eating!