Drunken Clams and Noodles

Drunken Clams and Noodles Cooking In The Time Of Covid
We interrupt our January journey through the wonderful world of curry to bring you a special event called Cooking in the time of Covid. My kids went back to school last Wednesday. By Saturday, my boys tested positive. They have been isolated in the room they share ever since. Thankfully, the rest of the family has remained covid-free. Though, meals have been difficult to manage.

The boys’ main complaint has been a very sore throat (like a bad case of strep—if you’ve ever had it). Since swallowing things is painful, I’ve been making dishes that are soft, easier to swallow, and kid-friendly. Basically, my 17-year-olds have reverted to the age of 8. It’s been a lot of pasta, to be honest. I made Mac n Cheese the other night from scratch. Never from a box. There are lines I just won’t cross.

And, last night I made some really tasty ramen.

My whole family went on a ramen kick over the holidays to the point that we were having some form of ramen every couple of days. Not sure what started it, but I now have every possible ingredient you could need to make it.

I found this recipe for Drunken Clams and Noodles in the current issue of Bon Appetite. It was a big hit—though be aware of the Thai chilis ‘cause it was spicy. I used the amount listed. But, I must have picked a super-hot chili. Luckily, it wasn’t so hot that it was inedible…unless you ask my daughter who doesn’t like heat. My husband said it was spot-on but he likes it when his eyelids sweat. The boys are just hoping the spicy hot broth will burn the virus from their bodies.

Drunken Clams and Noodles Recipe
Adapted from Bon Appetit February 2022
Yields 4 servings

4 5-ounce packages of fresh ramen or udon noodles (or four 3-ounce packages of dried ramen noodles)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 2-inch piece ginger, scrubbed and thinly sliced
3 pounds clams such as littleneck or Manila (about 36 total), scrubbed
3 red Thai chiles, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 cup dry sake
1/4 cup black or toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 cup Thai basil leaves
2 scallions, thinly sliced

Make the noodles

Cook the noodles in a large pot of unsalted, boiling water, stirring occasionally. Follow the package directions. Drain the noodles, reserving the noodle’s cooking liquid. Divide the noodles among the four bowls.

Cook the ginger
While the noodles are cooking, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot. Cook the ginger, stirring often, until it is fragrant and lightly browned on both sides (about 2-3 minutes).

Make the sauce
In the pan with the ginger, increase the heat to high and add the clams, chiles, garlic, wine, sesame oil, oyster sauce, and 1-1/2 cups of the reserved noodle cooking liquid to the pot. Stir to combine, then cover the pot and cook until the clams open (about 5 to 8 minutes).

Uncover the pot and remove it from the heat. Discard any clams that haven’t opened.

Finish the dish
Stir in the basil and scallions. Taste the broth and add more noodle cooking liquid if it is too salty—or add more oyster sauce if it is not salty enough.

To serve
Ladle the clams and broth over the noodles that are already in the bowls.

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