Linguini and Clams, A Family Favorite

Recipe by Alexandra Burke

Ingredients:

  • 4 Dozen Cherry Stone Clams
  • 3 garlic cloves (chopped)
  • 1-2 tablespoons of minced fresh Italian parsley.
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of Olive Oil
  • Linguini or Linguini Fini Pasta
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Salt/Pepper for Seasoning as desired (the clam juice is typically salty so no extra salt is usually necessary)

 

Directions:

1.  Place one to two inches of water at the bottom of a large pot.

2. Wash the outside of the clams with a brush or new sponge and cold water to remove any sand, etc. (discard any clams that are cracked open). Place the clams in the large pot with the water. (The clams should not go higher than three quarters of the height of the pot otherwise the liquid will steam out of the covered pot.)  Cover and steam for about 8-10 minutes, or until the clam shells begin to pop open.

3. Remove the pot from the heat. Take the meat of the clams out of the shells using cooking tongs and place the clam meat in a separate bowl. Toss the shells and save the clam liquid in the pot.

4.Take a bowl and place a paper towel in a strainer and hold it over the clean empty bowl. Pour the claim juice through the towel and the strainer to catch any sand or natural debris that has settled into the juice through the steaming process.

5. After all clam meat has been removed and placed in a bowl, the clams need to be cut up. I prefer to use a food scissor for this step instead of chopping the clams on a cutting board. With this method, the clam pieces remain firm and do not get mushy.  

7. In a small pot, add one and one half tablespoons of olive oil and heat and add the chopped garlic.

8. Cook the garlic for a few minutes on medium heat so they begin to soften but not brown.

9. When the garlic is cooked add the clam juice into the pot.

10. Keep the clam juice on medium heat until the broth begins to boil.

11.      Add the chopped parsley and let it cook for a few minutes and then add the chopped clams and remove from the heat.

12. To a boiling pot of water, add one pound of Linguini pasta (or fini linguini pasta, the brand of your choice) and cook until the pasta is “al dente.”

13. After the pasta is cooked and drained, put the pasta back in the pot and add some of the clam juice to the pasta to prevent it from sticking.

14. Take a serving of pasta and add it to bowl. Take a ladle filled with clam juice and clams and pour it over each serving of pasta. Add fresh Parmesan cheese to the top. 

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Uchepos Patzcuaro (Michoacán-Style Fresh Corn Tamales)

Recipe by Chef Christian Irabién, Chef at Aparo, opening this fall in DC's historic Mount Pleasant neighborhood. Photography by Jennifer Chase.

 Uchepos patzcuaro made with Irabién's signature recipe.

Uchepos patzcuaro made with Irabién's signature recipe.

Uchepos Patzcuaro
(Yields 15 tamales.)

30 corn husks
11 cups sweet yellow corn kernels, about 15 ears of corn  
4 ounces unsalted butter
½  cup whole milk
3 tablespoons Crema Mexicana de Rancho
2 tablespoons kosher salt
4 ounces semolina flour
1 ½ teaspoons sugar

To finish:

Queso fresco (crumbled), Cornuts cut into small dice (plain, toasted and ground)

Take the dry corn husks and submerge in warm water, to rehydrate, for at least 2 hours before making your tamales. They need to be pliable.

With a knife, remove kernels from cobs, reserving 2 cups of whole kernels. With the back of the knife scrape the cobs to extract as much of the starchy corn milk as possible. Discard cobs (or save them to make a nice corn stock later with just some water and bay leaves)

In a blender, add all ingredients and blend to a smooth paste. Transfer the blended paste to a mixing bowl, fold in the remaining kernels with the corn mix.

Place equal portions of 1/2 cup of corn mix inside the corn husks and form your tamales by folding them.

Next, steam the tamales with a tamale steamer, which you can buy pretty much at any Latin market in the DMV or do as I like to do and use a Chinese dumpling steamer when making a small batch at home, on top of a sauce pot with boiling water.

Steam tamales for 1 hour (check often that your steamer has water, add some more if it is drying out, don’t burn the tamales or your fingers!) Remove the tamales from steam and allow to set for 20 minutes.

To serve, tear the corn husk, allowing only the bottom to serve as both a vessel and decor. Sprinkle with ground cornuts to add some texture. Drizzle with the Poblano Puree for color, earthiness and spice. Add one or two small cubes of queso fresco for garnish.

Crema Mexicana de Rancho (Ranch-Style Mexican Cream)
(Yield 2 cups)

1 and 1/2 cups sour cream
1 and 1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons kosher salt

In a bowl, whisk sour cream with heavy cream and salt until evenly distributed. Your cream should be loose enough to drizzle, but thick enough to coat a spoon. Adjust the thickness by adding more sour cream or more heavy cream depending on which way you're trying to go. If you do, ensure you adjust your salt content too, the cream should be nice and salty.

Yield: 2 cups

***

Christian Irabien is a Mexican native who has led teams in renowned kitchens, receiving accolades for his Executive Chef role at Calavera in Oakland, Ca. and Jose Andrés’Oyamel in Washington, DC. Christian has been an integral part of the rising DC restaurant scene, collaborating with non-profits, restaurants, food banks and farms in the area as an active participant for better working conditions and wages for restaurant workers; while also strongly advocating for a better local food system. His restaurant, Amparo, will open later this fall at 3110 Mount Pleasant St NW in the historic Mount Pleasant neighborhood of D.C.

Aguachile de Camarón con Durazno (Shrimp and Peach Aguachile)

Recipe by Christian Irabién, Chef at Aparo, opening this fall in DC's historic Mount Pleasant neighborhood. Photography by Jennifer Chase.

 Shrimp and peach aguachile.

Shrimp and peach aguachile.

Serves 6

1 and 1/4 pounds 16/20 shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 oranges, halved
1 lime, halved
2 limes, zested and juiced
2 serrano peppers, stemmed and halved
4 serrano peppers, sliced in thin rings
1 bunch cilantro
2 seedless cucumbers, peeled and seeded (reserve) 
1 1/2 cups mint leaves, packed
2 avocados
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons dry oregano
1 yellow onion
6 garlic cloves
1 cup kosher salt
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
3 ripe peaches, sliced 1/4" thick

In a stock pot, add 4 quarts of water, 1 cup salt, bay leaves, 2 sprigs of cilantro, garlic, oregano, 2 halved serranos, 2 halved limes and oranges (squeeze juice into water and drop fruit in) and ½ cup of the mint leaves.

Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Allow to steep for 10 minutes.

Prepare an ice bath for the shrimp when they come out of the hot water.

Strain and discard all solids from the stock pot, and place the liquid back into the pot and return it to a boil, reduce to simmer. Add the shrimp and cook at a low simmer for about 1 to 2 minutes until they turn red and begin to curl. Remove immediately and submerge in ice bath to cool and stop the cooking process.

In a blender add 1 and 1/4 peeled cucumbers, half of the seeds, half of the peels, 1 peach, olive oil, lime juice, zest, remaining mint leaves, half of the cilantro, one of the sliced serranos (add more if you want more spice!) and salt to taste. Blend until smooth.

Strain the liquid and discard solids. Slice the rest of the cucumber in 1/4 inch slices. Cut the avacados into small dice.

In a mixing bowl, mix the shrimp, cucumber-oil mix, red onions, remaining peaches, and avocados, season well with salt and pepper and mix evenly

Serve cold on a chilled platter. Garnish with cilantro leaves, mint leaves, and red onion slices.

***

Christian Irabien is a Mexican native who has led teams in renowned kitchens, receiving accolades for his Executive Chef role at Calavera in Oakland, Ca. and Jose Andrés’Oyamel in Washington, DC. Christian has been an integral part of the rising DC restaurant scene, collaborating with non-profits, restaurants, food banks and farms in the area as an active participant for better working conditions and wages for restaurant workers; while also strongly advocating for a better local food system. His restaurant, Amparo, will open later this fall at 3110 Mount Pleasant St NW in the historic Mount Pleasant neighborhood of D.C.