FOODIE FRIDAY ALERT!!!!
So my dad and I went for a walk at low tide the other day, out on the mud-flats at Brighton (where I grew up). It was really peaceful and lovely. It was the middle of the day, but it was overcast and cool. I remember going out there as a kid and coming back a muddy mess (and before you say anything… there is NO WAY I am taking my kids out there and piling them back into my brand new car – ha ha ha ha!!! I am wa-aaaay too OCD for that! It’d kill me!).
When I was a kid, we could go out there and collect clams. Dad recalled to me when mum used to ask him to nick out there and collect a dozen or so for her to cook up with dinner. I must admit I was hoping to pick up around that many to try to do the same that day!
Unfortunately for all our walking, the beach was picked clean. I am sure the seagulls had been there before us, as there were many EMPTY pipi shells, but I found only 2 live ones. So they were tossed back to live to see another day (and probably meet a ghastly end at the end of the beak of the next nasty gull).
Since then, I have been CRAVING them. I formulated a dish of spaghetti and zoodles in my head, with fresh pipis done simply with garlic, olive oil, pepper, salt, parsley, freshly shaved parmesan cheese and a squeeze of lemon. So I trekked out to the Fish Factory to buy some!
I of course bough the fresh ones… which were twice the price of the frozen ones, but I bought a kilo of the frozen ones too, to cook another day just to see how they tasted in comparison. I will have to let you know about that as they are still in my freezer. Whilst I was there I bought a small piece of (very expensive but worthwhile) sashimi grade yellowfin tuna. OMG. To die for. Eaten simply with soy and wasabi as a starter. So good.
Anyhoo… I digress….
This was a REALLY fast dish to cook and it was magnificent. Quite honestly one of the most delicious and satisfying meals I have made for ages – but there is a trick to it!
***** GET YOUR TIMING RIGHT! *****
As with all pasta dishes, you have to serve the pasta really hot and fresh out of the pot because if you leave it too long, it dries out and gets gluggy. I have tried to help with your timing in the method section – but if you don’t get it right first go, don’t get disheartened – just give it another crack. You get better the more you practise. This recipe serves 4 people (or 3 people who eat a lot – like me). To bulk it out, you could serve it with fresh crusty bread.
- 1kg fresh clams/pipis – I bought NZ Cloudy Bay Clams
- Continental parsley – chopped and stems separated
- 4 cloves of garlic chopped finely (and popped in a bowl with the parsley stems)
- 2 long red chillies (depending on how hot you like your food – vary the type of chilli you buy)
- ~1/4 cup of olive oil
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- ½ a cup of dry white wine
- 2 medium-large sized zucchini’s – spiralised into zoodles
- About 300g (I just estimate with my hand around the dry pasta) of dry spaghetti
- Lemon wedges
- DO YOUR PREP! This dish cooks really quickly and you don’t want to be caught out at the end chopping ingredients whilst your pasta/clams overcook!
- Chop your garlic, parsley, chillies and put them in separate bowls
- Spiralise your zoodles
- Toss your clams into some cold tap water and sit them there whilst you prep the other stuff (the sand will come off them and sink to the bottom)
- Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil on high heat on stove
- Set your timer to 8 min (the amount of time it takes to cook the spaghetti to al dente)
- On your marks… Get set…. GO!! Place your spaghetti into the pot of boiling water and continue to toss around so they don’t stick together. Start your timer
- In a separate saucepan or wok, heat the oil (high heat) and toss in your garlic, chilli and parsley stems
- When there is about 6 minutes to go, toss in your clams and half cup of wine. Cover the pan and agitate. The clams will take anywhere between 4-7 minutes to open (when time is up, discard any unopened clams). Grind over some freshly black pepper and a pinch of salt (don’t overdo the salt – remember you can always add more later, but you can’t take it out once it is in if you put in too much)
- When 2-3 minutes remains on your timer, put your zucchini zoodles into the pasta pot and gently toss through to warm
- Once the pasta is done, drain it and put it in a large wide based serving bowl (**hint: if you mis-time your pasta and it is done too early, toss in a little bit of olive oil to stop it from getting gluggy and sticking together)
- Check your clams (toss any unopened ones), throw in your parsley and quickly toss through, then pour onto your pasta immediately. Mix through gently.
- Grate over fresh parmesan cheese and serve immediately with a squeeze of lemon.
So simple and so delicious.
I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.
Catch you soon! Don’t forget to leave me a like/share or comment!!