Photograph by Marcus Nilsson Food Styling by Maggie Ruggiero


Fossilized Forbidden Rice with Mollusks

Starters from Issue 8 – Winter 2016 – Origin

Crassatella lamellosa and ambonychia. Ancient fossil versions (from the Miocene and ilrdovician periods, respectively) of the bivalves we know now as clams and mussels. Our modern mollusks—pressed into a forbidden rice strewn with bits of Chinese sausage and fermented black beans—will definitely leave an impression.

serves 4

  • 1 cup forbidden rice, cooked according to package instructions and chilled (can be cooked 2 days ahead)
  • 1 lb mollusks, preferably a mix of small clams and mussels
  • 2 Tbsp Shaoxing wine or dry sherry
  • 1 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil, divided
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbsp fermented black beans, rinsed and coarsely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped ginger
  • 1 small hot fresh chile thinly sliced or ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 scallion, chopped (white and pale greens separated from darker green)
  • 2 tsp cornstarch stirred with 1 Tbsp cold water
  • cup finely chopped Chinese sausage, from 2 (1 oz) links

  • 1

    Scrub clean the clams and mussels, rinsing well until no grit remains. Keep chilled until ready to prepare.

  • 2

    Stir together wine, soy sauce, sugar, and ¼ cup water and set aside.

  • 3

    Heat a wok or skillet with 2 Tbsp oil, swirling to coat, over medium-high heat. Add garlic, black beans, ginger, and chile, along with the white and pale green parts of scallion, and cook, stirring until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in mollusks. Pour in the wine mixture, then cover the pan tightly and cook, shaking pan occasionally, until the shells are opened wide, 4 to 5 minutes. Uncover and discard any shells that have not opened. Give the cornstarch slurry a stir and then stir in. Simmer 1 minute, until broth is lightly thickened. Stir in dark green of scallions. Transfer to a bowl and keep warm.

  • 4

    Wipe out pan and reheat with remaining Tbsp oil. Stir in sausage and cook, 1 to 2 minutes, until sausage is starting to crisp. Add chilled rice and cook, stirring until heated through. Cook briefly, without stirring, to crisp some of the rice, then serve with mollusks and sauce.