It was a Monday evening around 5pm, dinner for 2 suddenly turned into dinner for 4 or 5. The additional guests also include one who did not eat red meat, and it’s all going down at 7PM. Thankfully, I had planned to make Linguine alle Vongole (Linguine with fresh clams) to begin with, and all I had to do was get a whole loaf of bread, and pull together a simple salad to make it work for a few more people.

I also bought some fresh oysters on a whim at Central Market, which I thought would be a good appetizer. The challenging part now is shucking these suckers.

There are a lot of information online about how to shuck an oyster. The one that worked for me, which I’ve gone back to pretty much every time I have to shuck oysters for a refresher, is a 4 minute long youtube video from a seafood chef from Boston.

I bought a dozen of oysters and was only able to shuck 8 on the first day, because my guests were arriving and I was running a little behind. The unshucked oyster will keep in the fridge for at least 1 day (and maybe longer), you only need to rinse and scrub them in tap water before you shuck them. Some people suggest putting the oysters in the freezer for a few minutes before shucking but I’ve not tried that.

As for the main course, I had made this recipe before and I loved the simplicity of it. Fresh Clams, white wine, parsley, olive oil, tomatoes, and a large pinch of red pepper flakes if you prefer a bite. The sauce is excellent for dipping with bread as well.

I cooked the pasta about 2 minutes less than the box suggestion for al-dente (which would come to 5 minutes for the linguine), then I drained it, tossed it in the sauce to finish up cooking. The clams will take around 7 minutes to fully open, so I would usually set the pasta water boiling before hand, make the sauce, then put the pasta in the water about 5 minutes before the sauce is timed to finish. Otherwise either your pasta gets cooked to early or your clam sauce is too done. Also when you watch cooking shows you always see people tasting the food, you want to do that as much as you can during the cooking process. Wondering if your pasta is done? taste it. Need more salt? taste it first before you add the salt. It’s the best thing cooks can do to gauge their cooking since your food is changing constantly as you cook it.

Youtube video for shucking oysters: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uy-rbEXFwLw
Linguine with Clams Recipe: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Linguine-with-Clams-em-Linguine-con-le-Vongole-em-350683

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