It seems that clams are in season right now. On Japanese television, clams feature in every cooking show right next to fresh bamboo shoots (I want to get one shoot to experiment, but they're so expensive!). Fresh spring potatoes and fresh onions are also appearing in super markets, but the weather is wet and uncomfortable for someone who loves to take her bike everywhere like me. So, I decided on clam chowder yesterday.
It was my first time cooking clams, so I had to look up the basics of handling them. Apparently, clams are fresh if they are tightly closed. About half of mine were open when I took them out of the refrigerator the same day I bought them, but when I tapped their shells, they closed again, indicating they were alive and fresh. To get the sand out of the shells, you're supposed to soak the clams in salt water, but clams from the supermarket are usually already clean.
When finished, the soup was lightly creamy and infused with clam juice (since I'd cooked the clams whole with the rest of the soup) and the flavors of roasted onions and butter. The clams were not chewy, the potatoes smooth in texture and the onion gentle in flavor. It was perfect for a rainy, unfavorable evening watching the fifth season of Sex and the City. Read the rest of this entry »