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Recipe: Linguine Vongole

Chef Tyrell Joon of House of MU shares his tips and tricks for making this simple clam pasta brimming with umami flavour.
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The charm of new eatery House of MU along Mohamed Sultan Road lies in its simplicity — spartan décor allowing the beautiful Burmese teak furniture for sale to shine, matched with an equally sparse menu executed well by chef Tyrell Joon.
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Formerly from the kitchens of fine-dining establishments like Les Amis and Iggy’s, Joon brings the same quality and consistency into his cooking here, serving up comfort food at affordable prices. Think hot, frothy mushroom soup, a platter of meats and sausages charred on a Josper grill, creamy risotto redolent of truffle and linguine vongole studded with sweet plump clams.

Here, he shares his recipe for linguine vongole, a simple Italian classic that can easily be replicated at home with a few tips and tricks.
“A few years back, I took a food tour of Italy where I visited many restaurants and immersed myself in their food culture,” says the chef. “I think that really helped me to understand Italian cuisine and the ingredients they use better.”
The comfort food at House Of MU (Pic: House Of MU)
The comfort food at House Of MU (Pic: House Of MU)
Joon has a few pieces of advice when it comes to cooking this deceptively easy dish well. “First of all, the clams definitely need to be fresh and there must be enough salt added into the dish.” While recipes for steaming clams don’t usually require additional salt as the clams themselves are salty, a secret ingredient in Joon’s vongole is ground kombu, a Japanese seaweed that adds a subtle saltiness that has depth of flavour and umami.

“Secondly, I soak the clams beforehand in water and flour to ensure that all the sand and grit are expelled which also helps to cut down on the fishy taste,” he says. Using a mixture of flour and water doesn’t just help the clams spit out grit, it is also the secret to plump and juicy clams as the molluscs feed on the flour as they soak in it.
Linguine Vongole (Pic: House Of MU)
Linguine Vongole (Pic: House Of MU)
Vongole Linguine
Serves 1

200g clams (10-12 pieces depending on size)
Olive oil
1 clove garlic, sliced
Some parsley, chopped
Some coriander, chopped
4-5 grains white peppercorn
4-5 coriander seeds
1 bay leaf
Salt to taste
50ml sherry

For the linguine:

100g linguine
2 cloves garlic
½-1 chilli padi (or to taste)
Parsley
Extra virgin olive oil
1g kombu ground
20ml sherry
1 tsp butter

Method:
1. Allow clams to soak in a mixture of cold water and about ¼ cup of flour to drain out the grit.
2. In a pan of hot olive oil, sauté the clams in garlic, parsley, coriander, white peppercorn, coriander seeds, bay leaf and salt till they open.
3. Set the clams aside with a pair of tongs and deglaze the pan with sherry.
4. Boil the linguine in water according to packet instructions or till al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving a cup of pasta water.
5. Sauté the pasta with extra virgin olive oil, garlic, chilli padi, parsley and kombu, and deglaze the pan with sherry.
6. Add the clams and the clam sauce to the pasta and stir to combine, adding reserved pasta water if necessary.
7. Finish by stirring through with a knob of butter.
RECOMMENDED: View more recipes here.
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