Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Manila Clams over Leek and Flounder Risotto

I made this on a Monday night.  A Monday night in December when I had gifts to make and buy and wrap, designs to complete, work lunches to pack and a floor to clean.  I haven't even touched the subject of cookies yet.  If you think that is bad, on Friday I made a chicken pot pie.  It all started with a casual glance toward my cookbook shelves.  One of those large, glossy pictured, hard covered beauties were calling me.  Sit down, it said, take a load of for twenty minutes or so and read about something rich and delicious.  The cookbook that was calling to me was a collaborative one by Julia Child and Jacques Pepin.  I should mention that I just finished reading Julia Child's "My Live in France."  Now I am craving butter.  No, I won't reduce my cravings to just butter.  I mean really, when do I not crave butter.  It's that I was transported to a kitchen where food preparation can be poetry.  Don't just throw your aromatics in a stock pot, stud your onions with whole cloves first, bundle your herbs into a bouquet.  You think it shouldn't make a difference but when you smell the fragrant steam of your gently bubbling stock you know it does.  Just as when you you slow down and prepare anything with love and attention it always shows. 

I know this isn't a slowing down time.  Maybe that's why I always feel a little grouchy or blue at the close of the year.  Because I know in a blink it will be gone.  Sometimes there is so little time for savoring the present before we have to start all over again. 

I promise, next time I'll get to the cookies. 

Fish Stock

  • Half of a medium-sized (or a quarter of an extra large) onion 
  • 2 small carrots chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 3 to 4 sprigs of parsley
  • 3 to 4 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 leek leaf
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 a teaspoon kosher salt
  • fish bones, head and tail
  • 8 cups of water
Stud the onion with the whole cloves.  Using kitchen twine, tie together your herbs and leak leaf.  Now add all of your ingredients to your stock pot and bring to a boil.  Lower your heat and keep at a gentle boil until the stock is reduced by 1/4 of the liquid.  Pour your liquid through a strainer and into a bowl.
    Broiled Flounder
    • one skinless, boneless fillet of flounder
    • 3 to 4 sprigs of thyme
    • 3 to 4 sprigs of parsley
    • sea salt for sprinkling
    • black pepper
    • olive oil for drizzling
    • 1 sheet of parchment paper
    Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Lay thyme and parsley on parchment paper.  Then lay the fish fillet on top of the herbs.  Sprinkle with salt, freshly ground black pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil.  Fold paper around the fish.  Broil in the oven for 5 minutes.


    • one leek cut in half and diced
    • half a medium onion, diced
    • 3 tablespoons olive oil
    • pinch of crushed red pepper
    • approx. 4 cups of above fish stock
    • 4 to 5 saffron threads
    • White pepper
    • sea salt for sprinkling
    • half a lemon
    • 1 and 1/4 cup arborio rice
    • 1 broiled fillet of flounder (above)
    Heat your olive oil in a dutch oven. Add onion, leek and crushed red pepper.  Sautee` until soft and onion is translucent.  Add your rice and toss so that it is evenly coated.  Just as it is starting to feel dry add a ladle full of fish stock.  Stir and let the rice absorb the stock completely.  Stirring is very important to risotto.  It releases the starches and makes it creamy.  The more you stir the better.  Add another ladleful of stock and repeat. On third ladle, add your saffron threads.  Continue slowly adding stock until your rice is creamy and tender.  Add salt, white pepper and squeeze in some lemon juice to taste.  Crumble the flounder and toss in the risotto.
    Steamed Manila Clams

    • one carrot diced
    • one stalk of celery diced
    • half an onion diced
    • 2 tablespoons of butter
    • 1 dozen manila clams
    • 1 large handful of chopped parsley
    Wash clams by putting them in a bowl of cold water with a inch of cornmeal.  Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Heat your butter in a medium saucepan.  Add your celery, carrots and onion when the butter is melted but not brown.   Sautee` until the onions are translucent.  Add your clams and cover.


    1. What a beautiful blog, I love this - the clams the risotto and the flounder. Perfection.

      Thank You.

    2. Thank you, Btw I have never had a honey pie and now I am totally intrigued.