While oysters, mussels and scallops receive their fair share of attention, there's a bevy of other shellfish, too, such as pippies, cockles and clams, which promise plenty of pleasure on the plate. These daintier varieties, along with mussels, should be purchased alive. You can check their condition by tapping any open shells - they should close immediately. They're sometimes sold sandless (that is, purged of sand), but if they're not, you'll need to purge them. Do this by soaking in salted cold water for about an hour. Discard any shells that don't open during cooking. While fresh scallops are available to restaurants, they're harder for home cooks to lay their hands on. Look for examples with plump flesh and always buy them fresh rather than frozen. If you can't find shellfish at your local market or fishmonger, give your local Chinatown a go.
- 600 gm udon noodles (see note)
- 10 gm dashi powder (see note)
- 500 gm vongole clams
- 140 gm shiro miso (see note) (½ cup)
- 300 gm silken tofu, cut into pieces
- 10 gm dried wakame, soaked in warm water
- 1Place noodles in a large heatproof bowl. Cover with boiling water and stand for 5 minutes.
- 2Bring 2 litres of water to the boil in a large saucepan, add dashi powder and stir to dissolve. Add clams and simmer for 3-4 minutes or until clams open. In a separate bowl, add ½ cup simmering liquid to miso paste and stir to combine, then return miso mixture to clams. Add tofu and stir to warm through.
- 3Drain noodles and divide among bowls. Ladle over miso and clams and serve immediately, topped with wakame.
Note Udon noodles are cooked and vacuum sealed in individual packets. Shiro miso is a light miso paste. Dashi powder is the powdered form of the traditional Japanese stock made from bonito flakes. All ingredients are available from Asian supermarkets and Japanese food stores.
Drink Suggestion: Late-disgorged sparkling white. Drink suggestion by Max Allen