(Originally written July 8, 2010)
Week #3’s share from Holland Farm CSA was full of green, leafy goodness: lettuce, arugula, salad mix, swiss chard, and kale. Plus, the first squashes came in, and there were plenty of herbs to choose from. I brought home chives, cilantro, parsley, and basil. Thyme, sage, and mint are also available, but I have those growing in abundance in my herb garden, so I left those behind.
A few years back, I came up with a light, easy clam sauce with lots of chopped herbs, and it is a family favorite. It cooks up quickly, great for these foul hot and humid nights we’ve been having lately.
Herbed Clam Sauce – Serves 4
1 T olive oil
4 lg garlic cloves, minced (more or less depending on how you like garlic)
4- 6 1/2 oz cans chopped clams
2 C chicken stock
1/4 C fresh herbs (basil, tarragon, oregano, parsley, dill, whatever you like), chopped
2 T arrowroot or cornstarch in 1/4 C water
1. Sauté minced garlic in olive oil, in large skillet over med. heat, just until soft. Don’t let it brown, it doesn’t taste good that way.
2. Drain 3 cans of clams. Add all 4 cans, inc. juice of one can, to the pan, and bring to a boil. Reduce liquid by 1/2.
3. Add broth and herbs to pan. Simmer over med. heat until reduced by 1/2.
4. Mix arrowroot with water in small bowl. Reduce heat under sauce to low, and add the arrowroot/water mixture. Stir thoroughly. Allow to thicken. If using cornstarch, mix with water in small bowl, keep the pan at a simmer, stir in the mixture and allow to cook briefly until thickened, stirring to prevent lumps of cornstarch from forming. Remove from heat to stop thickening.
Serve with hot pasta, top w/ parmesan cheese and lemon juice if you like.
If you don’t know if your combination of herbs will taste good together, chop a bit and try it before adding to the sauce. Also, smelling the herbs together can give you a clue; if they smell good together, they will taste good together.
A cool way to tell if your liquid has reduced by 1/2 (thanks Alton Brown): dip the handle of a wooden spoon into your pan at the start of the reduction, mark the level of liquid shown on the handle with a small rubber band or a twist tie. Then you can dip the handle in again to check the level as it’s reducing, and compare it to your mark.