Taking advantage of this fine winter 80 degree weather we’ve been enjoying in LA, Big N, Griffin, and I took a fieldtrip down to the Redondo Beach Pier. I’ve never been before. Griffin loved watching the fisherman fish in vain and giggled at the gigantic pelicans that plant themselves firmly on the pier and dare you to scare them away. Those crazy birds let you walk right up to them and practically pat them on the bill before they move.
My favorite part were the open air fish markets. The markets were bustling with people pigging out on plates piled high with lobster, crabs, oysters, and sea urchin. The distinct sound of hammers cracking crab claws (conveniently available for rent) filled the air.
While Big N took Fin for a stroll, I stopped in Quality Seafood to check out the fresh catches. The counter is nearly a block long, separated into stations where you can order steamed and sauteed fish to eat outside, or where you can buy by the pound to go. I went a little crazy and bought a few oysters (Kushi and Pacific) that were freshly shucked for Big N and I to shoot on site, as well as two pounds of clams and three pounds of steamed Dungeness crab claws.
Staring at about 10 varieties of clams with wonder, the clam-monger took pity on me and recommended the Manila and the Savory clams, which are smaller but, in his opinion, tastier than the larger varieties available. Happy with my purchases, which they packed on ice for our trip home, I couldn’t wait to make dinner that night.
And I discovered something awesome. With a few pantry items I had in my kitchen, plus a loaf of crusty bread, I had a delicious and healthy* clam dinner on the table in about 15 minutes flat (once my clams were cleaned, see note below). Bonus. To be perfectly honest, I didn’t taste that much of a difference between our Savory and Manila clams, but they were both tender, juicy, and briney. The saffron sauce provided a richness that made them special.
See my quick and super easy clam bouillabaise recipe below. Next time you’re in Redondo, don’t pass up the fish market. It’s worth a detour.
(And if you’re wondering, we ate the crab for dinner the next night: spicy crab cakes with roasted red pepper aioli, served with creamy parmesan polenta and sauteed asparagus. Big N ate them too fast to photograph.)
*Clams are packed with iron, which most of us women don’t get enough of these days. They’re also loaded with other good minerals, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese, and selenium. Go clams!
(Since I forgot to take photos of the fish market, doh!, I borrowed a couple from K1sworld).