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Steamed clams deliver big flavor

In this image taken Feb. 11 2013 Asian steamed clams or mussels with broccoli rabe is shown served bowl Concord

In this image taken on Feb. 11, 2013, Asian steamed clams or mussels with broccoli rabe is shown served in a bowl in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)

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ASIAN STEAMED CLAMS OR
MUSSELS WITH BROCCOLI RABE

Start to finish: 30 minutes

Servings: 4

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 tablespoon grated or finely chopped fresh ginger

1/2 cup finely chopped scallions (white and green parts)

3 large cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon Chinese chili sauce (or your favorite hot sauce)

1/2 cup dry white wine

1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth

3 dozen littleneck clams or 2 pounds mussels, scrubbed well

1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

3 cups blanched and coarsely chopped broccoli rabe

8 thick slices country-style bread, toasted

In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium high. Add the ginger, scallions and garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add the chili sauce, white wine, chicken broth and clams. Cover tightly and cook until the clams start to open. As they open, transfer the clams to a bowl. It will take 7 to 10 minutes for all the clams to open. Discard any clams that do not open.

Keep the saucepan over medium heat. Return the clams and any liquid in the bowl to the pan. Add the broccoli rabe, then cook just until heated through. Add the sesame oil and stir well. Divide the clams and broccoli rabe, along with the cooking liquid, between 4 shallow soup bowls. Serve each bowl with a few slices of toasted bread and a soup spoon.

Nutrition information per serving: 450 calories; 100 calories from fat (22 percent of total calories); 12 g fat (0.5 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 45 mg cholesterol; 52 g carbohydrate; 4 g fiber; 8 g sugar; 29 g protein; 500 mg sodium.

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Updated: March 28, 2013 6:37AM



I’d love to claim that this wonderful recipe required hours of arduous research and testing before I was able to settle on the exact proportions of its ideal ingredients. But I’d be lying.

Certain ingredients — including clams, mussels, rack of lamb, skirt steak and dark chocolate — make meals delicious with very little effort on your part. Clams and mussels are especially generous, delivering a one-two punch of taste thrills.

My favorite way to mess with clams is to steam them. You toss all the ingredients into a pot, pile on the clams, put on the lid, crank up the heat, and presto! Ten minutes later the dish is done. The only problem is that the clam liquor at the bottom of the pot is so tasty that I’m forced to sop it up with slice after slice of bread. That’s why I decided to bulk up this dish with broccoli rabe, a healthy and savory vegetable that absorbs some of the clam liquor as it cooks.

As a way of blunting the vegetable’s slightly bitter edge, your first step with broccoli rabe is to blanch it. Cut off the tough ends of the stems, then boil it all in a large pot of salted water for two minutes. Next, drain it and transfer it to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking and set the color. Finally, chop it crosswise into pieces about 1/2-inch thick. The garlic, chili sauce, ginger and sesame oil in the broth are complements strong enough to stand up to the robustness of the broccoli rabe.

You need to remove each clam from the pot as it opens up. The first ones will be good to go after four or five minutes. The last clam might stay clammed up until five or six minutes later, by which time the first clams — if you’d left them in — would be horribly tough.

Quick, easy, nutritious, delicious and satisfying.

Try it and see if you don’t end up happier than a clam.



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