The scariest thing from the pasta chapter of Giada De Laurentiis's book, New Italian Favorites, is the clam and mussel dish. Live shellfish is something I never have had to deal with, so clams are a better place to start compared to lobster.
Jeff doesn't even like the idea of clam looking food, so I saved this for a day where it would just be me at home (once again defying the title of this blog). If it turned out to be good, I would have him try it.
After classes ended for the day, I went to Martins and their glorious seafood selection (no more shark, oddly), picked up 3 clams and 4 mussels. As I was looking them over in the cheap plastic containers, the lady at the counter asked, "You look confused; are you wondering why there are holes on the cap?" "Um....because they're alive?" "Yep!" Thank you seafood counter lady for looking out for me. (Not sarcasm.)
After walking the dogs, I started on dinner. I looked up information on how to clean the shellfish, and began soaking them for 20 minutes. Unfortunately, it appeared that two of the mussels decided to kick the bucket. As instructed by the internet, I tapped them lightly against the counter to make sure they were completely dead. As it turned out, one of them was faking it, and got to be added to the pot of soaking water.
The pastina (small pasta) was to be cooked in a broth and water mixture, then drained after finished cooking.
As for the shellfish pot, onions and garlic were sauteed, then sherry and tomatoes were added to the pot. Finally, the shellfish were added.
This was a milestone for me, as it was the first time I have ever killed something in preparation to eat it. (Plants don't count in my world.) I was worried; what if they all didn't open? Thankfully, my worry was interrupted by one of my dogs deciding to go to the bathroom on the kitchen floor.
After the 7 minutes, everything had opened. Success! Time for plating.
Apparently, clams and mussels are very photogenic.
Pleased with my awkward-to-carry plate, I sampled the meats. And then proceded to spit them out. The mussels tasted a bit better than the clams, but not by much.
Despite the failure, the pasta was delicious. I am going to find something to integrate the pasta into.
To speak honestly, I don't know whether I did something wrong, or if I actually don't like them. I'll keep an open mind if the opportunity presents itself in the future.
However, Jeff, fear not. I wont make you try this dish.