Thursday, August 13, 2009

Vacation Gourmet, Part II

Course number two of our extra-special-beach-house-gourmet-dinner:

Steamed Clams in a Torrontes-Butter-Garlic sauce (are you detecting a theme here?)

These local little neck clams, so fresh, and cheap, and full of meaty briny ocean yumminess, went perfectly with a glass of Teirra Del Fuego Torrontes, the wonderful white varietal so pervasive in the Mendoza region of Argentina. The trick to eating a dish like this is, of course, in the DE-bay tradition, to use the clam shell to slurp up some of the buttery sauce with each piece of mollusk-meat.

This luscious (and affordable - $11) Torrontes has a perfect acidity balanced with notes of bright peachy-grapefruit. Crisp finish helps to clear the pallate for the next slurp of clam, and a grassy mineral aspect brings a sense of seaside pines and marsh grass - two common features of the local topography.

To prepare a dish like this for yourself, use a 2 quart sauce pot, and heat 1/4 cup of water and 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil. When the water begins to steam, add the clams (of course after thorough rinsing and purging, picking out any dead clams) and cover the pot with a lid. After a few minutes, check for any clams opening up, indicating they are done cooking. When the first 2 or 3 clams open, drop in a tablespoon of butter, 1/4 cup of wine, and a liberal pinch of garlic salt or garlic powder, with salt and pepper to taste. Allow the remaining clams to finish, removing them from the pot as they open. Continue to simmer the remaining sauce until it has reduced to appropriate concentration, and pour over the clams in a large bowl. Serve with a chunk of baguette to soak up the extra buttery clam sauce after all the bi-valves have been consumed.

Bon apetit!

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