Tender Broccoli Stems With Clams

Course : Clams
Serves: 4
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2 pounds broccoli
4 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon fermented soy beans
1/4 cup canned baby clams -- (or, crabmeat or shrimp)
1/2 cup stock
2 tablespoons peanut oil for first -- stir-frying
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 tablespoon cornstarch paste

Preparation / Directions:

Preparation: Wash broccoli and cut off flowerets (save for another dish). With small paring knife, carefully peel outer skin off broccoli stems, beginning at the base. Leave inner stems whole. Cut stems on the bias into 1/4" slices. Rinse fermented soy beans. Peel garlic. Mince together soy beans and garlic; then mash to a paste using mortar and pestle; set aside. Place drained baby clams in stock. If substituting fresh clams, crabmeat or shrimp, wash, shell and chop into small pieces. Stir-frying: Heat wok to hot, then add first of oil. When oil just begin to smoke, add broccoli and toss quickly to avoid burning. Stir-fry for about 1 minute. Turn heat down to moderate (or on electric range, remove from heat). Push broccoli up side of wok; add remaining oil to bottom of wok; add soy bean mixture. Press and stir until odor of beans and garlic is present. Return to high heat and immediately recombine with broccoli, stirring constantly for about 30 seconds. Beans and garlic will burn easily, so keep mixture moving. Quickly add clams and stock; stir-fry for another 30 seconds. Cover for 30 seconds to finish cooking broccoli. Remove cover; thicken with cornstarch paste to light sauce.

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