Prawns, Clams with Tomatoes and Feta
Seafood is very much uncharted territory in our kitchen as we do not have much opportunities to work with them. Despite being on an island surrounded by nothing but water, seafood here is strangely expensive. I might have mentioned before that it can get awfully intimidating to shop for seafood in our local wet markets with our limited vocabulary of Hokkien and lack of knowledge. Getting sustainable seafood becomes an even higher hurdle for us.
Yet, one must still venture into the wild to understand the lands better. In our case, we are going deep into the ocean by attempting a seafood dish. It did seem odd that we decided to refer to Yotam’s Jerusalem when seafood is not part of a common diet in Middle Eastern cuisine. However, we were intrigued by the presence of the tangy feta cheese in the recipe so we just had to give it a try.
The result was a robust stew-y dish that screamed with vibrance and colour. We loved the sweet aroma of the prawns and clams that mingled with the slight fragrance of the spices and wine. It’s captivating how the feta cheese added a mildly sour tang against the sweet and savoury of the prawns and clams. Soak up the juices with toasted crusty bread and there you have it, a lovely lunch to start the weekend. And for once, having some seafood at home was a refreshing change.
Prawns, Clams with Tomato and Feta
Adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, Jerusalem
250ml white wine
1kg clams, cleaned
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra to finish
600g peeled and chopped Italian plum tomatoes
1 teaspoon caster sugar
2 tablespoon chopped oregano
400g raw tiger prawns, peeled and deveined then soaked in ice
120g feta, broken into 2cm chunks
3 spring onions, thinly sliced
salt and black pepper, to taste
Place the wine in a medium saucepan and boil to reduce until you are left with a quarter of the quantity.
Add the clams, cover immediately with a lid and cook on high heat for about 2 minutes, shaking occasionally, until the clams open. Transfer to a fine sieve to drain, keeping the cooking juices. Discard any clams that donʼt open.
Preheat the oven to 240C.
In a large frying pan, cook the garlic in olive oil on a medium high heat for about a minute, until golden.
Carefully add the tomatoes, clam liquid, sugar, oregano and some salt and pepper. Shave off three lemon peel strips, add them and simmer gently until the sauce thickens well, about 20 to 25 minutes. Taste and add salt and pepper accordingly. Discard the lemon peel.
Remove prawns from ice and add the prawns to pan, stir gently and cook for just a minutes or two. Fold in the shelled clams and transfer everything to a small ovenproof dish. Sink feta pieces into the sauce and sprinkle with spring onion. Place in the oven for 3 to 5 minutes, until the top colours are a little, and the prawns are just cooked. Remove the dish from the oven, squeeze a little lemon juice on top and finish with a drizzle of olive oil.