After insisting above that there’s no way to screw up cooking with clams, I’ve got to emphasize one crucial step, a step to ensure that the little guys turn out tender. 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.
That’s it. Quick, easy, nutritious, delicious and satisfying. Try it and see if you don’t end up happier than a clam.
ASIAN STEAMED CLAMS OR MUSSELS WITH BROCCOLI RABE
Start to finish: 30 minutes
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.