Chilled Asparagus and Venus Clam soup served in a glass

This is a recipe I learned at the Gambero Rosso cooking school in Rome a few years ago so I take no credit for it whatsover.  I love the fact that it can be made in advance and put in the fridge and so needs very little last-minute work if you’re having guests over to dinner, or for a buffet party. I think the recipe hails from the height of the fashion for serving food in glasses which began roughly in 2004 and which the French dubbed ‘verrines’ — a pun, I suppose, on the word ‘terrines’ — only that these dishes were served in glasses (verre = glass in French).  Verrines do indeed look very colourful and attractive, like pretty maids all in a row.   And it is only now that I appreciate the fact that Venus is mixed up in the naming of this bivalve mollusk so, who knows, they might even be something of an aphrodisiac … Clams ARE very nutritious, read on:

Clams are surprisingly high in iron. So high, in fact, that t-bone steaks and beef liver don’t compare. A three-ounce serving of cooked clams, or about nine small clams, has about 24 milligrams of iron. That’s more iron than recommended each day for most adults (iron RDA is 18 milligrams per day for pre-menopausal women and eight milligrams per day for adult men and post-menopausal women.) Some individuals, especially women, have a difficult time getting enough iron each day, resulting in anemia if not treated. If you suffer from low iron, eating clams occasionally will help maintain your iron stores. On the other hand, some individuals absorb too much iron or get too much iron from the foods they eat. For these people, eating clams often may be a problem. The minerals in clams doesn’t stop with iron. Clams are a good source of phosphorus, potassiumzinc, copper, manganese and selenium, as well.

And …. most important of all …. clams are deee-lish…ous!

INGREDIENTS

A carrot, an onion, a large bunch of trimmed asparagus – the tips are cut off and may be used for garnish later on …

Chop the onion and the carrot, keep some of the woodier part of the asparagus stalks but make sure you peel them otherwise they’ll never cook.

Cover the bottom of the casserole with oil.

THE PREPARATORY SAUTé

Sauté the chopped onion and carrot.

Chop up the asparagus stalks …

Add the asparagus to the casserole and mix with the onion and carrot sauté.

STARTING THE SOUP

Add enough water as will cover the asparagus.  In this case, it turned out to be about 1 liter.

Mix well, add some salt and pepper (white pepper), and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the asparagus is very tender.

PREPARING THE VENUS CLAMS

This is a photo of another type of venus clams (called ‘telline’) I used for another recipe.  I include it here because I did the exact some thing with the venus clams I used for this recipe: i.e. soak them in plenty of very salty water.  Remember: these clams are alive!

The clams in the photo below are in a colander.  They had previously been left to soak in plenty of heavily salted water (i.e. as in the photo above) for 1 hour before being thoroughly rinsed in running water. This is done to get rid of any residual sand that might hide in the clams.  The Italian term for this procedure is “spurgare” which literally means “expurgate” (i.e. remove objectionable matter – and sand in one’s mouth is defnitely objectionable!).

Add as much or as little chopped garlic as you like to a fryingpan whose bottom has been lined with olive oil.   Choose one or two herbs of your liking: in this case rosemary and thyme (on the right) and add them to the fryingpan.

Turn the heat on, quite a strong one, and cover.  The heat will make the venus clams open, and they will release a wonderful liquid.  Don’t turn the heat off until all the clams have opened.  If any clam does not open, throw it away.

Behind the clams is the asparagus soup.  Use an immersion blender or a mouli to process the asparagus soup.  Add a squeeze of lemon.

Then drain the liquid of the venus clams through a very fine colander, and add this liquid to the asparagus soup.  Mix well with a wooden spoon.

Use your hands to remove the cooked clams from their shells and add them to the soup.   Set aside a few clams with their shells on, to use as garnish. Done!  Allow to cool and store in the fridge until about half an hour before serving.

And here is an imperious martini glass of asparagus and clam soup, lording it over six other amusebouches on a platter of seafood starters …

Advertisements

About myhomefoodthatsamore

Community celebration via food, wine and all beautiful things.
This entry was posted in Antipasti, Basic Techniques, Fish and seafood, Herbs and plants, italian home food and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Chilled Asparagus and Venus Clam soup served in a glass

  1. Liz Macri says:

    The antipasti plate looks wonderful, and the centrepiece is this lovely chilled soup!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s