Taste of Naples

SIMPLICITY: Natalia and Carl ate steamed clams in Naples with greed and gusto. NZ Herald picture
File picture
FOODIES: Carl Koppenhagen and Natalia Schamroth are owners of The Engine Room in Auckland’s Northcote Point. Picture supplied

Auckland bistro The Engine Room’s Natalia Schamroth and Carl Koppenhagen share a recipe inspired by a magical meal on holiday in Italy.

This time last year, we happened across restaurant La Scialuppa, in the marina beneath Castel dell’Ovo in Naples. Ravenous after a hot climb to the top of the castle in the midday heat, we were thrilled with the simplicity of the lunch we were served. Steamed clams, octopus and green olive salad drenched in olive oil, fried whole anchovies, all washed down with local Fiano white wine.

Perhaps it was the magic of being on holiday or a combination of being in awe of the friendliness of Naples after exciting but steely Rome. Perhaps it was the sunshine, the castle, seeing a real-life princess and prince, according to our four-year-old, (actually a bride and groom), being served by a confident and hospitable 40-plus waiter, and the sound of water lapping against wooden rowing boats on the wharf that made for THE most memorable bowl of steamed clams we’ve ever eaten.

Little plump and juicy clams were simply steamed open in parsley, garlic, olive oil and wine, Amalfi lemon squeezed over, then the entire contents of the pan tipped into a bowl over chunks of sourdough croutons.

So utterly moreish, they were eaten with greed and gusto. The remains of the liquid after the clams were demolished was tipped up and drunk, unashamedly, directly from the bowl.

We’ve made these clams many times over since eating them in Naples. They are excellent as part of a shared lunch, as an entree or tossed through pasta for supper. Our clams in New Zealand differ slightly to those found in Europe; littleneck clams work well in this recipe. Since there are so few ingredients, using the highest quality wine and olive oil is imperative.

Steamed clams, the Naples way
Serves 4 as an entree

Ingredients
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to serve
2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
Pinch of salt
200ml dry white wine, perhaps pinot grigio
1.5kg little clams, well scrubbed
2 Tbsp Italian parsley, roughly chopped
Juice of a lemon, to taste
200g sourdough bread, diced into 2cm cubes then well toasted

Method
• Heat a large heavy-based saucepan; add the olive oil, garlic and salt then stir over a medium heat until the garlic is fragrant but not coloured. Turn up the heat to high and immediately add the clams and white wine, cover the pan with a tight fitting lid.
• Steam the clams for 5 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally. Add the chopped parsley; give the clams a stir and check that all clams have popped open, give them a little longer if they haven’t. Squeeze in the juice of a lemon.
• Pour the entire contents of the pot into a large serving bowl over the croutons, pick out and discard any clams that have not opened. Drizzle the clams with additional extra virgin olive oil, then serve right away. — NZ Herald

Auckland bistro The Engine Room’s Natalia Schamroth and Carl Koppenhagen share a recipe inspired by a magical meal on holiday in Italy.

This time last year, we happened across restaurant La Scialuppa, in the marina beneath Castel dell’Ovo in Naples. Ravenous after a hot climb to the top of the castle in the midday heat, we were thrilled with the simplicity of the lunch we were served. Steamed clams, octopus and green olive salad drenched in olive oil, fried whole anchovies, all washed down with local Fiano white wine.

Perhaps it was the magic of being on holiday or a combination of being in awe of the friendliness of Naples after exciting but steely Rome. Perhaps it was the sunshine, the castle, seeing a real-life princess and prince, according to our four-year-old, (actually a bride and groom), being served by a confident and hospitable 40-plus waiter, and the sound of water lapping against wooden rowing boats on the wharf that made for THE most memorable bowl of steamed clams we’ve ever eaten.

Little plump and juicy clams were simply steamed open in parsley, garlic, olive oil and wine, Amalfi lemon squeezed over, then the entire contents of the pan tipped into a bowl over chunks of sourdough croutons.

So utterly moreish, they were eaten with greed and gusto. The remains of the liquid after the clams were demolished was tipped up and drunk, unashamedly, directly from the bowl.

We’ve made these clams many times over since eating them in Naples. They are excellent as part of a shared lunch, as an entree or tossed through pasta for supper. Our clams in New Zealand differ slightly to those found in Europe; littleneck clams work well in this recipe. Since there are so few ingredients, using the highest quality wine and olive oil is imperative.

Steamed clams, the Naples way
Serves 4 as an entree

Ingredients
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to serve
2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
Pinch of salt
200ml dry white wine, perhaps pinot grigio
1.5kg little clams, well scrubbed
2 Tbsp Italian parsley, roughly chopped
Juice of a lemon, to taste
200g sourdough bread, diced into 2cm cubes then well toasted

Method
• Heat a large heavy-based saucepan; add the olive oil, garlic and salt then stir over a medium heat until the garlic is fragrant but not coloured. Turn up the heat to high and immediately add the clams and white wine, cover the pan with a tight fitting lid.
• Steam the clams for 5 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally. Add the chopped parsley; give the clams a stir and check that all clams have popped open, give them a little longer if they haven’t. Squeeze in the juice of a lemon.
• Pour the entire contents of the pot into a large serving bowl over the croutons, pick out and discard any clams that have not opened. Drizzle the clams with additional extra virgin olive oil, then serve right away. — NZ Herald

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G R Webb - 9 days ago
It would help if you could tell us where you buy clams in Gisborne?

Footnote from Ed: Pak'n Save.

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