This very simple and elegant yet unusual dish was inspired by a dish we had a RyuGin in Taipei. It uses only three ingredients (well four if you count water): clams, turnips, and scallions. In my adaption I’ve simply used scallions rather than the scallion-infused oil as in the restaurant. What made it a Taiwanese dish is that Taiwanese turnips and Taiwanese clams were used. I made it a Dutch dish by using Dutch turnips and Dutch clams (cockles). This dish is so simple that the quality of the ingredients makes a huge difference: I remember the turnips and clams were sweeter in Taipei. Here’s what I did…
Serves 4 as an appetizer
1 kilo (2.2 lbs) clams
750 grams (1.7 lbs) turnips
2 scallions, sliced, white and green parts separated
Make sure the clams are free of grit and sand. If needed, allow them to soak in salted water (30 grams/4 tsp of salt per litre/4 cups) for an hour so they can purge themselves.
Put the clams in a casserole or pan with the sliced white part of the scallions.
Cover and bring to a boil.
Steam the clams until they have opened.
Strain the clam liquid into a bowl.
Sieve the liquid with a fine sieve.
Peel the turnips and cut them into 2-3 cm (1 inch) chunks.
Put the turnips in a pot and cover with the clam liquid.
Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and gently boil the turnips until they are tender, about 10 to 15 minutes.
Transfer the turnips with about half of the liquid to a blender and blend until smooth. You can add more of the cooking liquid or water if needed to make it thinner. Choose between water and cooking liquid by tasting.
Once the soup is to your liking, pour it into a pot. Bring it to a boil, then turn off the heat.
Take the clam meat out of the clams.
Add the clam meat to the soup, and stir to incorporate. Allow a couple of minutes for the clams to warm through in the soup.
Serve with the green part of the scallions as garnish.
At RyuGin it was paired very well with a champagne.
Pasta with broccoli and pancetta is a great week day dish that can be prepared very quickly and is very tasty.