Prince Edward Islander, and 2017 Best Sommelier of Atlantic Canada, Lesley Quinn, says “my favourite style of German wine is without doubt, Riesling. In particular, I love the dry, full-bodied styles that emerge from the warm, sunny hillsides of the Pfalz region.” As for the pairing, Quinn suggests the style is the perfect complement for one of her favourite Island (Prince Edward Island) treats, bar clams.” PEI bar clams are a staple of every touristy restaurant from Souris to West Point, where they are invariably served battered and deep fried. However, Quinn says, they are best served “straight out of the jar and served in a fresh green apple, arugula salad with a honey lime vinaigrette. If I have the time, I toast some nuts (cashews are my favourite) and add them to the mix for a bit of a crunch.” For the landlubbers, PEI clams are often harvested, then cooked and then immediately jarred. It’s an East Coast thing! To make them “Cru” style, we cooked made in the style of escabeche.
Apple, Arugula and Bar Clam Salad
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 lb bar clams, soaked in peppered water for 1 hour, rinsed
¼ cup salted water
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
4 unpeeled garlic cloves
2-3 sprigs thyme
1 bay leave
1 tsp peppercorn
Half lemon, zest
½ tsp sweet pimenton (paprika)
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
½ tsp sea salt
6 cups baby arugula
Honey lime vinaigrette*
2 green apples, cored, finely sliced acidulated
1 cup cashew, toasted
Directions: Place a large pot over medium-low heat. Add vegetable oil and shallots. Sauté until shallots are soft and translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the bar clams and water, raise heat to medium and cover pot. Steam until bar clams open (about 6 to 8 minutes). Discard any that do not open. Drain, and let cool. When clams are cool, remove meat from shells and place in a bowl. Return pot to heat and add the olive oil, garlic cloves, rosemary, thyme, bay leaf, peppercorn and lemon zest. Simmer over medium-low heat for 10 minutes. Add pimenton, vinegar and salt to pot. Pour warm liquid over the clams, cover and let cool. When cool transfer to a sterilized jar and refrigerate overnight.
Place arugula in large bowl. Add enough honey lime vinaigrette to coat leaves and toss. Season with salt. Top with green apple slices and toasted cashews. Serve accompanied with jarred clams, and let guests add to a salad as they see fit.
*Place 1 tablespoon honey, 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic, 1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard, 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar and juice and zest of 1 lime in a bowl. Whisk in 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil. Whisk until emulsified.