Yesterday was a day of serious ups and downs. I had
to deal with flooding and black outs thanks to
Tropical Storm (ne Hurricane) Floyd. But, as I got to
leave work early I headed to the local Foodtown
(Morris Co. Mall, Cedar Knolls, NJ) to lay on some
supplies and got some pleasant surprises.
In addition to a nice chicken to bake, I picked up
some tiny New Zealand Cockles at the Fish Dept.
Usually I skip their fish, but everything looked extra
fresh (nice red tuna, salmon, etc.) and they had the
aforementioned cockles in addition to NZ mussels and
some rather large looking Little Neck Clams. (There
was a new guy behind the counter, apparently a new
fish manager and a new fish supplier.) As the cockles
seemed to be both the best value ($4.49/lb.) and the
nicest looking of the three I took a pound home.
Now, I've never actually cooked clams at home, but
after my recent experience in the Atlantic City area
(see my Atlantic City & Vicinity post), and having
seen it be done countless times on TV, I felt in the
mood for some more steamed clams.
In a skillet, I sauteed a chopped up clove of garlic
in a little olive oil, added about 1/2 cup white wine
and a little salt and pepper, when that was boiling I
added the clams, covered and shook them around for two
minutes ("No More!" instructed the new fish manager).
Took out all the open ones when I removed the lid,
some were still closed, so I kept the lid off while
all but one (garbage) opened in the next minute or so
- I took each one out as soon as it opened.
All in all, they made a lovely appetizer. They were a
little salty, and the resulting broth was too salty to
sip (next time no added salt). But the clams were
yummy, perfectly barely cooked and made me very happy
after having to bail out my front stoop for an hour!
Questions: Are cockles usually very salty, or do you
think the problem was the added salt (just a short
grind of kosher salt)? Also, what size should Little
Neck clams be? The ones at the store were 2-3", but
the ones I had at Crabbys, near AC, were only a little
bigger than the cockles (which averaged about 1").
Hope everyone suffered through the storm OK! Rachel