The sun is shining brightly through blue skies today and there are a few clouds but no storm nor hurricane sighting. Hoping Wee Scotch and I will finally make it onto our flight to Scotland tonight.
I had a nice surprise yesterday. While Skyping with Scotch, he revealed that he had bought a last-minute ticket from Dubai to Edinburgh so he will be joining us at his parents. I grabbed Wee Scotch and we did a victory dance – WooHoo!
Scotch misses his son (and me too, I hope!) very much and it has been 5 long weeks since we last saw each other. But Wee Scotch hasn’t forgotten his dad – every day we wake up and I point at a picture of Scotch and I ask, “Who’s that?” to which Wee Scotch smiles and enthusiastically replies in his cute toddler voice, “Dat’s da-da! Dat’s da-da!”
In my last post I talked about my mom’s vegetable and herb garden. She often makes decisions on what meals to prepare based on what is abundantly growing in her garden. My grandma and aunts in Brooklyn are regular benefactors of any surplus herbs.
One day, mom came home with Costco-size Littleneck clams and noticed that she had tons of Asian basil that needed to be picked before the plants flowered or bolted to seed.
So instead of preparing the clams with her usual black bean sauce (which is very popular in Chinese restaurants and in our household), she whipped up a different kind of sauce to pair with the Asian basil.
I wanted to show Wee Scotch what clams were and gave him a few to play with. At first he tried to lick them (yuck!), then bite them (too hard), and so he assumed they were not food but some sort of funny-shaped ball.
He finally decided on using them for his pitching practice. Since we’ve been back in the States, he’s been watching baseball on TV and looks like he’s picked up some new moves.
Those poor clams didn’t stand a chance in the hands of a 20-month old toddler. We returned them to my mom all cracked but still usable.
(I just realized that Wee Scotch isn’t wearing any pants in these photos! He was being potty trained at the time and only wore pants and diapers during nap times.)
Anyway, back to the clam recipe.
Mom made a simple stir-fry using a soy and oyster sauce mixture thickened with corn starch. She normally adds Cognac or Whisky for extra flavor but this can be left out if not desired.
The clams were small this season but juicy as they absorbed the stir-fry sauce very well. I enjoyed the clams with the salty-sweet sauce on its own but even more so with the Asian basil which added a level of freshness to the dish. I couldn’t get enough.
Here is a slideshow of the preparation and cooking process:
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Ginger and Scotch Clams with Asian Basil
- 5 lbs Littleneck clams
- 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 3 cloves garlic , finely diced
- thumb-size piece of ginger , finely diced
- 2 cups of loosely packed Asian basil
- 1 Tablespoon Scotch Whisky
- 1 Tablespoon oyster sauce
- 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- 1/4 cup water
Rinse the clams and soak them in a large container of cold fresh water for at least 30 minutes, then drain.
Bring a large pot of water to boil and add the clams. Simmer clams for about 5 minutes until they open. Remove opened clams with slotted spoon.
Continue to boil any clams that haven't opened but discard if they remain closed even after additional minutes of boiling. Save the broth for making stock or discard.
Combine all the sauce ingredients and mix well.
In a large pan or wok, heat the oil over medium-high heat until very hot. Add the garlic and ginger and swirl them around in the oil for about 10 seconds or until they start to color on the edges.
Quickly add the sauce mixture and stir it in with the oil.
Toss in the Asian basil.
Add the clams and gently mix so that the sauce coats all the clams.
Remove from heat and serve immediately.
Boiling the clams in a separate pot of water helps to keep the finished dish free of any sand or grit that may not have been filtered out during the soaking process.
We usually have the clams as appetizers but I like to eat mine over jasmine rice to soak up all the delicious sauce.
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