Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Restaurant Redux - Crispy Kale & Clams

Here's the original dish I enjoyed during our trip to Maine - what I remember most was how the tasty bitterness of the kale and played into the buttery bitterness of the pine nuts and the clam broth. The crispy leaves soaked up the broth, making for a rich & deep flavor.

I like the presentation as conjured up an image of the seafloor with the clams resting gently on a bed of seaweed in one of the tidal pools along the rocky coastlines we had walked across.

Pan-roasting the pine nuts here...these will burn in a instant if you're not careful.

We took the stalk off the kale leaves and washed them thoroughly. With a rough chop, the leaves were dressed with a little oilive oil, sea salt & pepper before being laid out on a baking sheet. They went into a 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes, turning them over halfway through and making sure they didn't burn.

We picked up some little neck clams...the cherrystones were just humongous, so we opted for the small shells. Here they are resting in a bowl of ice cold water in the hopes of cleaning out any sand that may be inside the shells still.

Elizbeth brought home the New Portuguese Table last week and in a nod to the classic pork-shellfish combo of that cuisine, we braised and seared a link of Linguiça, a milder seasoned sausage with paprika and having a slight sweetness hinted in the spices.

The clams were steamed, then added to the bowl with the sausage, pine nuts and goat cheese crumbles. I strained the broth that the calms had cooked in to remove any sand or shell bits, adding a little butter and salt for taste.

Finally we poured the broth over the mix, liberally sprinkled with the oven-crisped kale leaves, and dug in. A few of the clams still had a bit of sand in the shell, which was a bummer, but the overall effect was close to the original, with the kale, pine nuts and broth combing forces to create that bitter, nutty & buttery flavor.

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