This is a love-it-or-hate-it kind of dish. So much so that I made it for lunch instead of dinner so that my husband wouldn't have to smell it. But if you like seafood, this is so good! I understand that for many people, just the sight of the salmon roe, or even the phrase "salmon eggs" makes you queasy. I guess this one isn't for you.
At the supermarket a couple days ago I was craving shellfish. It hits me a couple times a year. I bought a bag of clams from the freezer section and ikura (salmon roe) from the sushi section. This is what I ended up with, and it completely hit the spot. I used a "nadapeno" from the garden. It's a jalapeño with no heat. So strange! I added Korean chili flakes to give it a little heat. Honestly, it was Thai pepper I was craving. Maybe next time.
1 pound pasta
4 T. butter or reserved bacon fat
12 oz. cooked clams, defrosted if they were frozen
1 chile, minced (or pepper flakes, or you can leave it out entirely and use black pepper instead)
1 glove garlic, minced
1 package enoki mushrooms, yucky end trimmed and cut in half
2-3 Tablespoons sake
1. Prepare all the ingredients so you aren't scrambling since this doesn't take long!
2. Heat plenty of salted water in a large pot to start the pasta. Once it comes to a boil, add the pasta, give it a good stir until all the pasta is submerged and you're sure it won't all stick together. Set a timer so you don't forget about it and get started on the sauce.
3. Begin preparing the sauce. Heat a large skillet over medium/high heat. Be sure the pan is big enough to hold the sauce as well as the pasta. Once it feels hot when you hold your hand over it, add your butter, bacon grease, or oil. Once that has melted and seems hot, add the pepper and garlic. Give it a moment to become fragrant, and then add the mushrooms in. Let them cook and soften for a few minutes, giving them a stir if they look like they're going to burn. When they're soft with little bits of caramelized brown spots, add in the clams and pour over the sake. Season with a little salt and pepper. If your pasta isn't close to done, turn the sauce down to the lowest setting.
4. Assuming your timer has gone off by now, drain the pasta and reserve a quarter cup of the pasta water. I never EVER remember, and you can bet I didn't this time, but it helps to marry the pasta to the sauce. If you forget like I did, rest assured that life will go on and it'll still taste great.
5. Make sure your sauce is back on medium-high heat and be sure the sake has cooked off before you add the pasta. Once that's done, add the strained pasta and a little of the reserved cooking liquid to the sauce pan. I use tongs to get it all mixed in together. Make sure it's all heated through and season it with salt and pepper. If you have enough parsley you can add some of it at this point too so it's mixed in.
6. As you plate it, add parmesan, parsley, and the salmon eggs. I feel like a squeeze of lemon is great, but I was too hungry to think of that earlier. I doused mine in fish eggs and it was amazing. It should be salty with a hint of acidity from the lemon.
I love trying new foods, cooking, and gardening. I hope to share these experiences on this site. Thanks for taking a look!