4 lbs. (about 12 clams per lb.) Manila, Littleneck, or Venus clams, scrubbed
2 tsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. cornmeal
12 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. fresh ginger, minced
4 red jalapeno chilies, seeded & sliced
3 tbsp. rice wine
6 scallions, chopped
2 cups fresh Taiwan or Thai basil leaves (leave whole - do not chop or tear)
1 tbsp. soy sauce (or to taste)
2 tsp. black bean garlic sauce (optional)
1 tsp. sesame oil
2 tsp. sugar
1 tbsp. water
1. Scrub manila clams clean. If not using right away, place in a large metal bowl over ice; cover & keep refrigerated (best not to keep them in the frig more than a day). About 20-30 minutes before cooking, take clams out of the frig, remove and cover clams with cool water, add 2 tsp. kosher salt & 2 tsp. cornmeal (clams should, hopefully, expel any sand/grit into the water during this time). Do not soak the clams in water overnight or they will die. Clams refrigerated in a bowl uncovered & over ice will keep for about 2-3 days.
2. Heat 2-3 tbsp. vegetable oil in a large pan or wok over high heat. Add garlic & ginger and saute for about 30 seconds until fragrant. Add sliced chilies toss briefly.
3. Add drained clams & rice wine; cover & bring to a boil over medium high heat until clams start to open (5-7 minutes). Stir in soy sauce, black bean sauce, sesame oil, sugar and water. NOTE: discard any clams that do not open after cooking.
4. Add scallions & basil and cook about 1-2 minutes until just wilted. Remove from heat & serve. Best to eat the clams as is (just pick them up, scoop up some of the sauce & eat from the shell) - the sauce is also good mixed with steamed white rice.