Sardinian Couscous with Clams

Fregola is a large, round Italian pasta that is similar to Israeli couscous and can be substituted in this wonderful recipe.

2 – 2 1/2 lb. clams
2 tbs. olive oil
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tbs. tomato paste
3 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup dry red vermouth
1 1/3 cups fregola
3 tbs. chopped parsley, plus more of sprinkling

Soak the clams in a large bowl of cold water to remove any sand. Discard any that do not close or are cracked.

Heat the oil in a heavy pot that has a lid. Cook the shallots until softened, a minute or two, then stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes. Add the tomato paste, stock and vermouth. Stir in the fregola, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook, uncovered for 10-12 minutes, or until the fregola is tender.

Drain the clams and tip into the pot. Cover and cook for 3-5 minutes at a fast simmer until the clams open up. Discard any that don’t. Sprinkle in the parsley and ladle into warmed serving bowls. Top with a bit more parsley, to serve.

Serves 4

Thai Steamed Clams

The robust zing of Thai red curry paste and the delicate sweetness of coconut water combine to make a richly flavored, but light broth in which to steam the tender clams.

2 lbs. clams
2 tsp. Thai red curry paste
1/2 cup coconut water
1 tsp. lime juice
handful of Thai basil leaves or coriander

Tip the clams into a large bowl and cover with cold water. Leave to soak for 15 minutes, then drain and discard any that remain open.

Spoon the curry paste into a wok, then mix in the coconut water and lime juice. Turn on the heat and when the mixture comes to a bubble, tip in the clams and cover with a lid. Cook for 5 minutes, shaking from time to time, until the clams have opened. Discard any that remain closed.

Tip into a large bowl and scatter over the Thai basil leaves or coriander.

Serves 2-4