I don’t know about you, but even for an inveterate cooking enthusiast like myself, the dog days of summer take their toll. I like to keep time spent over a hot stove to a minimum, so I turn to lots of quick and easy dishes that need little or no application of heat. Last night, for example, we had an insalata caprese, cured olives, pineapple and, to start things off, some grilled clams.
Did you know that clams taste great off the grill? Well, they do. And it takes all of 5 minutes to cook them. There is truly nothing to it: Just place as many clams as you want to make on a grid (if you place them directly on the grates, you may well lose a few to the fire):
and grill them just until they open, which usually takes no more than 5 minutes.
Clams tend to open at different rates, so to avoid overcooking remove those that have already opened to your serving dish while the others cook, until they’re all done. NB: Use tongs and handle your clams gingerly, keeping them perfectly horizontal if you can to avoid losing their tasty brine.
You can serve your clams as is, or with a drizzle of oil and/or a squeeze of lemon juice. But for even more flavor, try napping some freshly made salmoriglio sauce onto each clam. as pictured above. It complements the taste of the clams perfectly, and as when the leftover sauce mixes with the juices on the bottom of the dish, it makes for exquisite dipping with a crusty piece of homemade bread!
NOTE: The same technique works for other mollusks. Mussels (cozze) are particularly common, and uncommonly delicious, made this way.