Cooking is in many ways similar to doing experiments in a research lab. In a lab we start from a protocol, or a recipe (oh, yes… we use recipes in science big time!), and more often than not we change things up to see what happens to our experimental results under a new set of parameters or conditions. We make observations and jot them down. The main and the biggest, actually a life and death, difference between cooking and science is that you don’t taste results of your science experiments, while tasting cooking experiments is recommended.
Why do I mention experiments? Well, although seldom talked about most experiments actually give negative results or even fail. Now this happens in cooking too, but I have to say at this point in my life not very often. So, it is with a bag of mixed emotions that I am jotting down this recipe – the Clam-free Clam Sauce with Black Bean Pasta – as this did not turn out the way I was hoping it would.
The sauce itself is actually spot on, creamy and delicious. It uses jackfruit as a stand in for clams, similar to what I’ve done in my New England “Clam” Chowder, and a batch of homemade vegan mozzarella, recipe for which I found on a fun vegan cooking blog site it doesn’t taste like chicken. This vegan mozzarella, combined with the jackfruit, some almond milk, lemon juice, and a dash of Old Bay Seasoning gave a beautiful, rich, and creamy sauce.
The main problem was that I decided to pair this delicious sauce with black bean pasta, instead of more traditional linguine pasta, and this DID NOT work at all. The black bean pasta had a strong flavor that interfered with the subtle flavors of the Clam-free Clam Sauce so the final dish was definitely very far from authentic pasta with the clam sauce.
Conclusion of this experiment? When in possession of the clam sauce, even if it is a vegan version of it, just go with linguini, which is exactly what I’ll do next time!
Clam-free Clam Sauce
What you’ll need:
1 can (10 oz, 280 g) young green jackfruit in brine
1 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning
2 tablespoons garlic, crushed
1/2 cup vegan mozzarella
1 cup almond milk
1 tablespoon corn starch
2 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon dry basil
1 teaspoon dry oregano
Fresh flat leave (Italian) parsley
What you’ll do:
- Prepare the vegan mozzarella according to instructions on it doesn’t taste like chicken site.
- Prepare the jackfruit by draining the brine out and washing the jackfruit off from access brain to make sure that most of the salt is washed off. Pull jackfruit apart into smaller pieces, about the size of clam “meat”.
- Spray the bottom of your pot with cooking spray and turn the heat on medium-high. Add jackfruit and sauté for 3-4 minutes.
- Add Old Bay seasoning, mix well and sauté for 1-2 minutes.
- Add garlic and sauté for another minute, until the garlic releases its aroma.
- Next add the vegan mozzarella and mix everything together. Let it simmer for 2-3 minutes.
- Add almond milk and decrease the heat to medium to medium-low. Let the sauce come to simmer.
- In a small bowl, mix corn starch and couple of tablespoons of sauce to temper the corn starch. Then add it to the sauce and mix well. Let the sauce simmer for 10-15 minutes.
- Add lemon juice, oregano and basil. That ought to do it. But remember: no matter what don’t pair this sauce with the black bean pasta, it’s not worth it!
Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2017
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