Clams are not native to Hawaii. In the 1920s several species of clams and oysters were introduced from Japan and North America to Hawaiian waters as a food source. Among these was the Japanese littleneck clam, also known as the Manila clam.
Today, little neck clams are actually farm raised here on the West side of the island of Kaua'i. Sunrise Capital, owners of Kauai Shrimp, not only raise white shrimp but also clams. I happen to be very fond of clams, especially when used in this easy recipe.
The ingredients are available almost anywhere, even on a small island in Hawaii. Once you have gathered them, it will take you about an hour to prepare this delicious meal for 4. It's best to eat it right away, naturally with a nice bottle of cold Chardonnay and some hot crusty bread.
Linguine with Clams
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher or coarse sea salt
1 pound linguine dried pasta (one 16 ounce box)
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 chopped onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
2 pounds fresh clams, shells scrubbed clean
(available at Friendly Market here on Moloka'i)
3- 6.5 ounce cans chopped clams with juice
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup dry white wine, like Chardonnay
1 (14.5-ounce) can sliced tomatoes in juice,
juice reserved and tomatoes coarsely chopped
1/2 cup of fresh flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top,
with hot crusty bread on the side
In large pot over moderately high heat, combine 10 quarts of water to a boil with salt. Add the linguine and boil on medium high for 12 minutes until pasta is 'al dente' (quite firm).
Meanwhile, in large sauté pan over medium-high heat, heat butter and extra olive oil until hot but not smoking. Add onion, garlic, and red bell pepper, and sauté until the onion is just golden, about a minute or two. Add both canned and fresh clams and the red pepper flakes and sauté 1 minute. Add wine, tomatoes (chopped) plus the juice, and 1/4 cup parsley and simmer, uncovered, just until clams open, 7 to 8 minutes.
Drain the linguine and return it to the pot, mixed with a little olive oil to keep it from sticking together. After the clams have opened in the pan, pour the sauce over the pasta and carefully mix the ingredients together so that the clams remain in the shells. Transfer the linguine with clams to plates or a serving bowl and serve immediately, sprinkled with the rest of the chopped parsley and grated Parmesan cheese. Serve with crusty bread on the side.
Makes 4 servings.
Note: You can remove the fresh cooked clams from the pan before mixing the sauce with the pasta. This will allow you to place them on top of the pasta after plating. They say "presentation is everything".
Also, be sure you inspect the clams before you buy them to make sure that the shells are not open. This could be dangerous to your health.