A Japanese take on one of my favourite Italian dishes - spaghetti alla vongole. I love udon noodles as they are so chewy and Moorish, and vongole are little sweet bites of juicy joy. I know it is frowned upon to mix such a classic Italian dish, but expand your horizons and give it a chance.
4 packs udon noodles, can find in local Asian supermarket or online
150ml dry sake, does not have to be expensive
1kg fresh vongole
3-4 cloves garlic, sliced
3-4 sprigs of spring onion, sliced
1-2 big red chilli, deseed if you want less spice
1-2 tbsp light soy sauce
1-2 tbsp toasted sesame seed oil
1 tbsp sunflower oil
Salt for seasoning
1 tsp white sesame seeds
1 tsp black sesame seeds
1. Wash vongole in cold water; all should be closed. Discard any shells which are cracked. For those shells which are open, tap on the surface to see if it closes. Wait for half a minute. If it does not close, this means that they are dead, and therefore discard them. Place vongole in bowl, cover with damp kitchen towel, and place on the third bottom shelf in fridge until needed.
2. Slice the whole spring onion, keep the white part and set aside the green part. Place in the medium-large saucepan on medium-high heat, add sunflower oil, and add the white part of the spring onion, then sautee for 2-3 minutes. Add sliced garlic and sliced fresh chilli, then sautee for another 1-2 minutes. Add all the vongole and stir very briefly. Add soy soy sauce, sake, and place lid on top. Allow to simmer for 5-10 minutes or until the vongole start to open.
3. Once cooked, take out the vongole and leave the sauce inside the pan. You can do this by passing it through a sieve. Once separated, set the vongole aside. Taste and add salt to the sauce if necessary. Add the udon noodles to the pot, add sesame seed oil, and begin stirring. The cooking process should take no longer than 3 minutes. Add the vongole back, and heat briefly.
4. Plate the udon vongole and serve with black and white sesame seeds, and the green part of the spring onion.