Clams with sesame rice noodles

By Bianca Osbourne
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YIELDS
4 APPETIZER PORTIONS

Ingredients

Shrimp cake

  • 8 ounces (113 g) large shrimp (16-20 count), deveined, raw, shells removed
  • 1/2 lime, juice and zest
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) sriracha sauce
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 teaspoon (5 ml) cornstarch
  • 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) piece ginger, grated
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) Shaoxing wine
  • Salt and white pepper
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) finely sliced bean sprouts
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) finely sliced Thai basil

Clams

  • 4 large quahog clams
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 inch piece of ginger, sliced
  • 2 Kaffir lime leaves
  • 2 x 4 inch (7.5 cm) pieces lemongrass, bruised
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) MSG
  • 1/8 teaspoon (.75 ml) white pepper

Noodle salad

  • 1 bunch of pho vermicelli noodles
  • Water, for boiling
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) water
  • 4 tablespoons (60 ml) hoisin
  • 1 tbsp Rock sugar, grated
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • Sesame oil
  • Black sesame seeds

Garnish (several or all of the following)

  • Pea shoots, onion sprouts, cilantro sprouts, radish sprouts, chive blossoms, finely sliced Chinese chives, finely sliced rau ram leaves finely sliced mint, sliced red chilies

Directions

Shrimp cake

1. In a food processor, process shrimp until you reach a smooth but slightly chunky paste. Add ginger, garlic, sriracha, lime, egg white, cornstarch, and Shaoxing wine, season with salt and white pepper. Pulse to incorporate.

2. Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl, fold in the Thai basil and bean sprouts.

3. Shape the mixture into 2-inch (5 cm) rounds that are ½-inch (1.25 cm) thick.

4. Heat oil in a small non-stick pan over medium heat, then sear for 1 minute, without coloring. Flip and cook the second side for 1 minute. Add a little water and cover to finish cooking, about 1-2 minutes, until firm.

Clams

1. In a pot, add chicken stock, ginger, lime leaf, lemongrass, garlic, msg, salt and white pepper. Bring to a gentle simmer, without reducing, steep for 45 minutes.

2. Near the end, while simmering, add the clams, cover and cook for 8-10 minutes until just opened. Remove the clams and set aside.

3. Strain the cooking liquid through several layers of cheese cloth to filter out all sand, discard the solids and return the broth to the stove, bring to a gentle simmer.

4. Remove the flesh from the clams, reserve and clean the bottom half of the shell.

5. Slice the clam meat into ½-inch (1.25 cm) pieces and return to the broth to keep warm.

Noodle salad

1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, make a sauce by combining lime juice, hoisin, fish sauce, water, and rock sugar. Warm gently until sugar is dissolved, then remove from heat and cool. Zest in lime.

2. Cook noodles in boiling water for 3-4 minutes until tender but with a little bite left, then remove and hold.

3. Before serving, toss the noodles with the sauce and drizzle with sesame oil.

To serve

1. Place a shrimp cake in the bottom of a small cast-iron bowl.  

2. Roll 2 ounces (57 g) of seasoned noodles into a mound and position over the shrimp cake, just off to the side. Garnish with black sesame seeds.

3. Prepare the garnish mix of herbs, chilies, and flowers by trimming them and cutting them quite small. Make the mix as colourful as possible.

4. Place clam meat back in shell and fill the shell with the warm broth.

5. Cover the clam with a generous pinch of the herb-flower garnish, then carefully place the clam over the mound of noodles, making sure to keep it flat.

6. Repeat process for remaining portions. Tell guests to pour clam meat and broth into the dish before eating.

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