Recipe: Seafood and Chicken Aglio Olio a la Ruelha

Clams

I bought clams for the first time ever. I have eaten all kinds of seafood back home as a child. But I’m on my own with these. So I thought I’d play it safe which is why I decided to make a simple pasta. And to be even safer, I added some prawns/shrimp as well because although I have eaten clams before, it’s the first time my family will be sampling these. Since I love meat and variety so much, I decided to throw in some chicken too.

After steaming them, they popped open

So, I cleaned these well first. I didn’t need a brush, but if the clams are gritty, you can use one and scrub them clean. I lay them in a vessel containing water and salt which helps to expel the sand bits from the inside of the shell. Then I placed them in a wide flat bottomed pan with very little water and kept them to boil. The water did not cover the clams at all. I did not want to lose much flavour in a stock bath that I would be discarding so I kept the water level low. You can steam them instead of boiling them, if that is your preference. I prefer minimal dirty dishes so I chose this method. Once the clams are cooked, they pop open one by one and it is really fun to watch especially if you have kids around….or if your’e still a child at heart, like me. Do not try to force open a shell, although it is an easy feat. I say this as a caution because if they don’t open up, it means the clams were not alive and you do’nt know for how long they have been lying inside the shell with a buildup of bacteria that can give you some serious food poisoning. Just play it safe and discard the unopened ones. I suggest you keep it a bit longer in the pot to steam/boil because at times, few of them just take a lot longer than most. The shells look lovely, so you can use them as it is in your dish or just pluck the meat out like I did. It’s a clean pluck, not difficult at all. All the meat is just one single solid mass.

Spaghetti : Aglio Olio a la Ruelha

Ingredients: {serves four}

  • 500 gm dehydrated spaghetti {will double in quantity once boiled}
  • 500 gm Clams{with shells}, so about 150 gm of meat
  • 125 gm/approximately two dozen Prawns/Shrimp
  • 125 gm/approximately one breast Boneless Chicken, fine cubed or shredded
  • 3-4 tbsp Olive Oil {the extra virgin is so flavourful}
  • 1 full pod of Garlic – thinly sliced or pounded in a mortar and pestle
  • A heaped bunch of Coriander/Oregano/Basil – finely chopped herbs of choice as per availability
  • 4 Green Chilies, finely chopped {I love spicy food; use one if you don’t like heat}
  • Olives for garnish, optional
  • extract of half Lemon
  • Salt to taste

Method:

  1. Boil the pasta of your choice as per instructions on the packet.
  2. Drain the water and keep aside.
  3. Add some olive oil and spread on the pasta, distributing evenly. This will prevent the pasta from sticking and forming lumps.
  4. Take some oil in a pan and fry half of the garlic bits first.
  5. Add the chicken cubes first; then add the shrimp, lastly add the clam meat and salt. Fry well
  6. Remove from the pan and keep aside.
  7. Now, in the same pan add the remaining garlic and fry well. I prefer some burnt crispy garlic bits in my pasta. Don’t be afraid to brown some of them.
  8. Add the chopped chilies.
  9. Then add the boiled and oiled pasta, salt and the juice of one lemon.
  10. Sprinkle chopped herbs and sliced olives.
  11. Add the seafood and chicken along with the garlic bits and mix well.
  12. Plate up and like this post πŸ˜‰

Tip: You can use a mix of mollusks like squids, octopus, mussels, cockles, oysters, scallops too. I would love to use a variety but I was’nt cooking for a large party, so 😦

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