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Food
Clam-Potato Stew a hearty entree

Thursday, June 13, 2002

Compiled by Arlene Burnett

Today's recipe is a meat and potatoes kind of dish -- but without the meat. Clam Stew With Potatoes and Parsley Puree is a hearty dish that's easy to prepare (in and out of the kitchen in less than an hour). This dish is made up of four distinct flavors: clams, dry white wine, parsley and garlic. Together these flavors create a full-bodied, delicious stew or chowder.

 

The recipe calls for littleneck clams in the shell. We preferred the shucked clams, but if you decide to use the shelled clams make sure the shells are tightly closed. If a shell is slightly open, tap it lightly. If it doesn't close, the clam is dead and should be discarded. If using shucked clams, look for plumpness and clear liquid.

According to the "Food Lover's Tipionary" by Sharon Tyler Herbst, shucked clams can be stored in their liquor (the juice or liquid) in the refrigerator for up to three days, in the freezer for up to three months. It there's not enough liquor to cover the shucked clams, you can make your own by dissolving 1/2 teaspoon salt in 1 cup water. Clam yields: 1 pint equals about 18 shucked clams; two 7 1/2-ounce cans of minced clams equal about 18 shucked clams.

We served this tasty stew with hard crusty bread and a salad.

The request for a clam dish was sent to us by Arthur Warstler of San Diego: "I need a good recipe for steaming clams and mussels -- the kind of broth that ends up in the bowl for dipping our wonderful sourdough bread in here in California. You know, butter, wine, garlic and whatever else makes it wonderful."

Our recipe today does not call for mussels, but we're sure Arthur will be pleased with this dish.

Clam Stew With Potatoes and Parsley Puree was sent to us by Eloise Lesko of Duquesne. It's from The New York Times.

Clam Stew With Potatoes And Parsley Puree

4 pounds small clams, such as littlenecks, cockles or butter clams
12 ounces Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 cup dry white wine
1 bunch parsley, thickest stems removed
1 clove garlic
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt

Wash the clams well, in several changes of water, until the water contains no traces of sand. Put clams in a wide, deep skillet or a saucepan along with potatoes and wine. Cover, and turn heat to high.

While clams and potatoes cook, combine parsley leaves and stems in a blender with garlic and oil. Blend, adding water as necessary to make a smooth puree (it will take 1/2 cup or more). Add salt to taste, and transfer to a bowl.

Cook clam-potato mixture until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Stir half the puree into clams and serve, passing the rest of the puree at the table. Makes 4 servings.

Note: If using shucked clams, skip the first paragraph of the directions.

Letters

Ed Ratajack of Carnegie has a problem with his scrambled eggs. Here's Ed's story:

"At our church breakfast, we scrambled 40 dozen eggs and put them in an electric roaster to keep warm. When we served the eggs, they started to turn green. What happened?"

We went to the experts, the American Egg Board, with this problem, and they immediately returned our e-mail with the following information:

"Cooked eggs may turn green (a natural chemical reaction) if held over high heat for an extended period of time. Here's how to avoid it: Use Grade AA eggs if possible. Greening is more likely in older eggs (check the freshness date). Cook eggs in small batches, no larger than three quarts.

"Substitute a medium white sauce for the liquid in the egg mixture: one part white sauce to five parts eggs.

"Use temperatures of 140 degrees and above for steamtable holding. Do not hold hot foods on buffet line for longer than 30 minutes.

"Use only stainless steel equipment and utensils.

"Try a liquid egg product if greening is frequent. (Many of these contain citric acid, which retards greening.)

"Beat in 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice for every 18 large eggs or 1/4 teaspoon citric acid crystals for every dozen large eggs.

Requests

Another Townsend's Ribs fan heard from. Rhoda Hickman of Scott writes: "I couldn't believe my eyes! Every time I read your column, I think, 'Why don't you write to her and see if you can find the mustard sauce recipe from Townsend's Ribs?' Back in the late '60s I used to go there for ribs.

"That mustard sauce was the best stuff I ever tasted and there is NO tomato-based sauce ANYWHERE that tastes as good. I have tried for years to duplicate it, with no success. I have gone to the rib cook-offs hoping to find someone using a mustard sauce. If you can come up with that recipe, I will be eternally grateful, because I want to taste Townsend's Ribs at least once more before I die. They had two strengths, hot and mild, and the mild was plenty hot enough for me. I hope someone writes with the recipe soon."

Rhoda also has a request:

"There used to be a coffee shop (Oliver Corner) that served a wonderful cheesecake, which was a real cake. It was not the heavy pie-like stuff we call cheesecake today. It stood about 4 to 5 inches high. It was more coarse and was sort of moist and slightly cheesy in the center. It was not a layer cake but stood about as high. The top and sides were brown and 'crumbly.' No icing.

"It had a consistency that was more like a batter cake."

Diane Gipson of Plum is looking for a chocolate spoon cake recipe: "Several years ago, I was vacationing on Amelia Island, Fla., and went to dinner at a restaurant named Horizons. I ordered something called a chocolate spoon cake and it was without a doubt THE best dessert I have ever had.

"It was so chocolatey and moist with a thick chocolate icing and a truffle on top. Sounds like a Death by Chocolate -- but no Death by Chocolate has been so good. I have been looking for this recipe and have not been able to find one. Can you help?"


If you want to answer a recipe request from a reader or are looking for a recipe yourself, please write to Kitchen Mailbox, c/o Arlene Burnett, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh 15222, or e-mail to aburnett@post-gazette.com Please include a name, neighborhood/city/borough/township and state and a daytime phone number on all correspondence.

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