Saturday, May 24, 2014

Mussels and Clams in a Tarragon Tomato broth

When it comes to mollusks such as mussels and clams, I never really like eating them on the half shell like most people do, I prefer mine in a broth of sorts or over pasta. Quite a few restaurants will serve this type of dish (sans pasta) as an appetizer with crusty bread, and oh my word is it just yummy.  This is my take those appetizers.

½ lb of fresh mussels, cleaned and prepared
12 clams, cleaned and prepared
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 shallots, minced
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp crushed red peppers
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 cup white wine (I used Pinot Grigio)
4 tomatoes, chopped
1 can tomato sauce (I used my freshly jarred tomato sauce)
½ cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped
2 sprigs fresh tarragon, chopped
2 tbsp parsley, chopped (garnish)

In a dutch oven, heat up the extra virgin olive oil. Add the shallots and sauté until translucent, about 5 – 7 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to simmer for about 3 – 4 minutes, until the garlic becomes fragrant. Add the crushed red peppers, salt and pepper, mix until well blended.  Deglaze the pan with the white wine. Add in the tomatoes and the tomato sauce and bring up to a simmer. Stir in the olives and tarragon. Simmer for about 10 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together. Add in the clams and the mussels and cover the pot. At this point, they will stop the sauce from boiling.  You want to make sure the sauce is simmering. When it comes back up to a simmer which should only take a few moments, cook the clams and mussels for about 4 – 5 minutes and check them. They should start to open. If they have, cook them for a few minutes longer. You don’t want to overcook them or they become tough and chewy. You can serve this with a side of crusty bread to sop up the sauce or over pasta. Any of the mussels or clams that have NOT opened, you will want to throw those away.


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