For the most part, A and I eat together every night. When he is especially busy at work, he'll skip the food ordered by The Company in favor of eating at home -- even if that means dinner is served at 10pm. I would like to think that he prefers his meal accompanied by my stimulating conversation, but more likely the delivery food is pretty lousy and A would really miss Annabella's ritualistic post-meal-lap-sit.
Still, every once in a while there's an especially late night, and I'll eat dinner alone. I try to use the opportunity to prepare foods that are not among A's favorites. This meal was one of those. I had originally planned to eat the cute littleneck clams on the half shell, but shucking them seemed like too much trouble for a solo weeknight dinner. Steaming the clams made for a quick, delicious meal, and there was only one pot to wash -- always an important consideration when I assume dish-washing duties too.
Steamed Clams for One
To remove grit from clams, soak them for 15 minutes in a solution of 1/3 cup non-iodized salt (kosher or sea salt) to 1 gallon of water. Some people suggest adding cornmeal to the brine, but I've never found that to be necessary. Also be sure to discard any dead clams (those that don't close when tapped) after their bath.
12 littleneck clams (or steamer clams from the Northwest), soaked and scrubbed
knob of unsalted butter
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 bottle of dry white wine
red pepper flakes
Melt butter over medium heat in a medium pan until foam subsides. Add onion and garlic, and saute until onions are translucent. Add wine and pepper flakes to taste. Raise heat and bring to a simmer. Add clams and cover the pot for about 5 minutes. Remove clams that have opened to a serving dish, and continue steaming the rest for another 5 minutes. Transfer remaining clams to your dish, and discard any clams that did not open. Top clams with the remaining broth and serve with crusty bread for dunking.