I’m not sure exactly why, but I decided to add a flambé step to my experimental red clam sauce. And I’m not sure exactly what it added, flavour-wise, but it was amazingly fun. Also, the sauce was delicious–much better than my previous attempt at making clam sauce. I totally recommend flambeing to anyone who wants to add some flair & excitement to their day. It was so exciting to stir down those 2-foot flames that suddenly whoooshed up in my kitchen! Just make sure to stand back so it doesn’t take off your eyebrows 😉
It’s a pretty frugal meal too, and definitely good enough to serve to company.
Frugal Urban Red Clam Sauce Extrordinaire
2 slices bacon (or more), cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 oz gin (or other dry hard alcohol 40% or higher)
2 cans baby clams, with their juice
1 can of tomato paste
1/2 tsp dried thyme (or 2 tsp fresh, minced)
2 bay leaves
1 tsp (or to taste) hot pepper flakes
salt and pepper
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add bacon pieces. Once they give up a bit of their fat, add in the onion. Cook, stirring frequently, until onions start to brown and bacon starts to crisp. Add garlic and stir until fragrant (about 30 seconds). Remove your cooking utensil from the pan (especially if it’s made of wood!) and make sure there are no flammable materials overhead or nearby, and then with a barbecue lighter in one hand at the ready, tip in the alcohol with the other hand, let it warm in the pan for maybe 5 seconds, then light the pan on fire. Whoosh! Let it burn for a few seconds and then start stirring down the flames.
Once the fire has gone out, you can add the remaining ingredients. Tip in the baby clams, including their juices, and then stir in the tomato paste. Add the thyme, bay leaves and hot pepper flakes, and then bring the sauce to a simmer. Simmer for about 15 minutes, uncovered, until the sauce thickens and the flavours marry. Season to taste with salt & pepper.
We enjoyed this over capellini noodles (but then again, I enjoy just about anything over capellini noodles), but Linguini or Fettuccini would probably work even better for others who don’t share my obsession with teeny tiny noodles.