Rania’s Recipes: Clams Posillipo & Whole Roasted Fish

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(Photo Courtesy of Rania Harris)

(Photo Courtesy of Rania Harris)

Rania Harris stopped by Pittsburgh Today Live to show off some dishes you can try out on Christmas Eve for the feast of seven fishes.

Clams Posillipo

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 4 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 small fresh green chili, such as serrano or jalapeno, seeded and thinly
  • sliced into rings (wear latex gloves to protect your hands and wash your
  • hands well after handling)
  • ¼ cup crisp, light-bodied white wine, such as Pinot Grigio
  • 1 cup canned diced tomatoes with their juice
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 dozen middleneck clams, or another small variety, such as cherrystone,
  • well-rinsed and scrubbed of grit
  • 3 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into 3 pieces
  • 1 loaf country bread or Baquette (optional)

Directions:

Heat a large, heavy skillet, for which you have a tight-fitting lid, and which is wide enough to hold the clams in a single layer, over medium-high heat. Add the oil and heat it until it shimmers, and is almost smoking. Add the garlic and chili and sauté until the garlic is fragrant but not at all browned, about 2 minutes. Immediately pour in the wine, stir, bring to a boil, and let boil until reduced by half, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, basil, parsley and sugar. Bring the liquid to a simmer and let simmer for 30 seconds. Raise the heat to high and add the clams in a single layer.

Cover the pan tightly and cook for 3 minutes, shaking the pan periodically to help the clams open, but not hard enough to shatter their shells. Lift the lid and stir the clams gently, taking care not to break their shells; they should be starting to open and exuding their juices. Cover the pan again and cook for about 3 more minutes. Lift the lid and use a slotted spoon to transfer all opened clams to a large serving bowl. Discard any clams that have not opened.

Bring the liquid in the skillet to a boil over high heat and reduce it slightly until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the butter, 1 piece at a time.

Pour the sauce over the clams in the bowl and serve family style from the center of the table, with the bread alongside for dunking, if desired. Pass another bowl or two for empty shells.

Serves 4

Whole Fish Roasted in Sea Salt with Warm Lemon Butter Sauce

  • 6 or 7 large egg whites
  • 1 box (3 pounds) sea or kosher salt
  • 2 striped sea bass or other white-fleshed fish, 1-1/2 pounds each, gutted and
  • scaled
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 sprigs fresh oregano, plus 2 tablespoons chopped oregano
  • 4 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, plus 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 4 thin slices lemon
  • Sauce:
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic, from about 3 large cloves
  • Zest and juice of one large lemon
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Directions

Position a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat to 475 degrees.

Line a baking sheet large enough to hold the 2 fish in a single layer with foil.

Put 6 of the egg whites and the salt in a large bowl and stir together well until a grainy consistency, almost like moist sand, is attained. If the mixture seems too dry, stir in the final egg white.

Press a ¼-inch-thick layer of the salt mixture onto the baking sheet.

Stuff the cavity of each fish with the bay leaves, oregano sprigs, parsley sprigs, thyme, garlic, and lemon slices.

Lay the fish on top of salt and pack the remaining salt over the fish to enclose it completely. Set the fish in the oven and lower the temperature to 400 degrees. Roast until their internal temperature reaches 135 degrees, 15 to 20 minutes.

While the fish is roasting, make the butter sauce. Heat the olive oil in a small, heavy sauté pan set over medium heat. Add the chopped garlic and sauté until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the lemon zest, lemon juice, chopped oregano, and chopped parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove the pan from the heat and swirl in the butter.

When the fish is done, remove from the oven. With the fish still in the baking pan, crack open the sea-salt case, push it to the side, then fillet. Place the fillets onto a plate. Spoon some sauce over the fish on each plate and serve.

Serves 2 to 4

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