This soup was my second try with littleneck clams in this challenge. I was really looking forward to this because the base of the soup is clams, onions, garlic, clam juice and parsley. This is also the base to the linguini with clams recipe that I make, which is one of my favorite dishes. Unfortunately, the other main ingredient in this soup is peas and I mean a lot of peas. I don’t usually have a problem with peas, but this combination really didn’t appeal to me. I think I am used to having the clams with an overall savory flavor, but the peas really added a sweetness that I found overwhelming. Maybe it was the choice of peas that I used that caused the problem. I didn’t find any palatable fresh peas so I went with an organic frozen pea. I could see how that might make a difference with this recipe.
This recipe was relatively easy to put together. Washing the clams and then steaming them to start. I then filtered the clam juice and cut the clams into thirds. In the meantime, I sautéed some onions until translucent, added chopped garlic and cooked until golden brown, then added parsley and diced Nina tomatoes in their juices. This cooked for about 10 minutes. I then added the clam juice and peas and cooked this until the peas were done. I added salt and fresh ground pepper. The last addition was the chopped clams. This cooked for a short time and was then served with crostini.
Marcella’s crostini is made by frying bread in vegetable oil. I used a small loaf of rosemary olive oil bread. This was a great choice and even my son, the pickiest eater around loved it.
I have to say one of my favorite parts of every new recipe that I make is actually reading the recipe. Marcella spends so much time making sure that we know how to do every thing the right way. In this recipe she walked us through how to know which clams to use, how many times to scrub them, and the ins and outs of why we need to do each step. It is very refreshing. I am learning more every day. I thought I was a reasonably knowledgeable cook, but I have learned more in the last 8 weeks than I care to admit!!