Venetians have their choice of clams, from the little rounded hard-shell clams called vongole veraci to the pencil-thin razor clams called cannelli that are usually split, brushed with butter and grilled briefly. Cannelli do not travel, however, and are a treat to be enjoyed in Venice. Instead, Francesco offers vongole veraci quickly steamed with oil and garlic; “At one time in my life I made so many of these you could have built a house with the shells,” he says.
– For a Venetian the amount in this recipe would be a half portion. –
It is so important to select the smallest clams and to use a very good, fragrant olive oil. The recipe is equally good with mussels.
Clams Venetian Style
- 48 units littleneck or Manila clams or medium-size mussels
- 1/2 cup (124 ml) Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup (60 mg) dry white wine
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary broken
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- Crusty bread
- Be sure the clams or mussels are well scrubbed. Mussels should be de-bearded.
- In a large, heavy saucepan, heat the oil.
- Add the garlic and wine, stir, then add the clams or mussels. Stir, then cover and cook over medium heat until the shells open, about 8 minutes.
- Transfer the clams or mussels to 2 warm bowls.
- Strain the juices from the pan through a very fine strainer or a strainer that is lined with a piece of muslin or cheesecloth and pour the juices over the clams or mussels.
- Scatter the rosemary over each serving and sprinkle with lemon juice.
- Serve at once with crusty bread.