Clams and Glass Noodles in Parchment
One of the things I miss most about Asia is the food.
Ok, maybe it’s the single thing I miss the most (sorry fam…)
Tracy and I both lived in Asia in our childhoods. Though we’re in LA and SF today, our families are still in Hong Kong and China, which means we get to spend a good part of holidays eating our way around Asia. If you haven’t eaten real Chinese food in China, you haven’t lived!
I also like to talk about food, like, a lot. If we hang out, I will most likely ask you “if you could eat anything right now, what would you eat?”. In the last 2 miles of a 12 mile hike, when I’m trudging begrudgingly and ravenously hungry, I will ask endless permutations of this question, like “would you rather eat chicken wings or ribs right now?“, or “would you rather have beef noodle soup or pho right now?“. My husband reeeeally likes this game (that’s sarcasm).
Listen, sometimes I just need to only talk about and think about food, okay?
When I am having intense Chinese food cravings, my mind inevitably wanders to Scallops with Vermicelli, a Hong Kong seafood classic. By wander I mean sprints over to a vivid fantasy about the the last time I selfishly devoured a whole plate of them. Imagine a tender, plump scallop on a little nest of soft glass noodles, dripping with savory soy sauce, garlic, fragrant herbs. The whole thing is steamed on a scallop half shell, so the umami-filled juices from the scallops and garlicky herbs penetrate the glass noodles in an orgasmic combustion of flavors.
Sadly, this dish isn’t so easy to find in California, so naturally we decided to make our own modern twist on this classic. Inspired by Hong Kong, infused with Vietnamese flavors, and using one of our favorite French cooking methods, we give you Clams and Glass Noodles in Parchment! Instead of fresh scallops in shell, we use Manila clams, which are readily available in most grocery stores, and relatively affordable. Cooking the clams, noodles, and herbs in parchment creates a steaming effect. We spice it up a little with red chili flakes, top it off with a good chunk of butter, because food is nothing without fat, and squeeze lime to give it a pop of acid.
I’m drooling just thinking about it. Ok, time to sign off and slurp some clams and glass noodles!
Serves 2 large portions or 4 small appetizer portions | 1 hour prep & cook time
- 1.5 lbs clams, cleaned
- 1/2 cup rice wine
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- A generous sprinkle of red pepper flakes
- Half a small yellow onion, diced
- 5 large cloves of garlic, minced
- Handful of basil (preferably Thai basil)
- 1.5 to 2oz of glass noodles (aka. Chinese vermicelli)
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 limes
- Parchment paper
- 2 tbsp cooking oil
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F
- Place glass noodles in a bowl of cool tap water, allowing the noodles to soften while you prepare the other ingredients.
- In a skillet, heat cooking oil over medium high heat. Sauté onion and garlic for 2 minutes, being careful not to burn the garlic.
- Turn heat to low, then add rice wine, fish sauce and red pepper flakes. Cook for another 5 minutes, and set aside.
- Prepare two large parchment sheets (roughly 15×17 inches). Fold sheets in the middle so that it’s easy to fold parchment in half later.
- Put half of the glass noodles in the middle of of half of the parchment (the glass noodles must go on the bottom to soak up the cooking liquids, otherwise the noodles won’t cook properly). Arrange half the clams on top of the glass noodles, spooning half of the onion and rice wine mixture on top of the clams. Drizzle each parchment parcel with juice from half a lime, garnish with torn basil, and top with two tbsp of butter. Wrap parchment so it’s tightly sealed. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Check out this youtube video for parchment folding directions – the folding starts at 1:45.
- Place parchment parcels on baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes.
- Serve hot with another drizzle of lime juice!