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Jan 1, 2013 09:51 AM

Bitter Spaghetti Vongole

I made spaghetti vongole for the first time last night and it turned out extremely bitter. I can't figure out why. The thing that really puzzled me was that I used the same clams, wine, oil and garlic to steam the clams for another dish, and that turned out fine. Any ideas about what would cause my pasta dish to turn bitter?

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  1. My first thought is that the garlic may have burned--burnt garlic is very bitter and unpleasant.

    1. Burned garlic is my first thought if you sauteed it too long in oil before adding the stock, wine or both.

      It would help us a lot if you listed ingredients and how you went about cooking the dish.

      Oil could be rancid. Wine could be corked, Clams could have gone bad. Along with teh garlic burning, all could have been a factor until we know more.

      Moar info = a CSI:Chowhound success I can almost guarantee.

      1 Reply
      1. re: jjjrfoodie

        OK thanks for the help!

        Sauteed chopped fresh garlic in EVOO until it just turned brown at the edges (longer than I wanted, but I don't think it was burned), added red pepper flakes, clams and white wine. Cooked on high heat until clams opened. The one thing I did that I did not intend to happen was to boil the clams in the liquid for a few minutes after they opened. I had way too much liquid and I wanted to reduce it, and the pasta wasn't done yet, so I cooked it down for a couple minutes. Can boiling clam shells too long cause bitterness in broth? The only other thing I can think of is that one or two of the clams were bad.

      2. The Wine could also be the Culprit. Did you drink any of it before hand or with the meal?
        Over cooking the Clams would not cause them to become bitter and if they were bad you would know it.

        1. It was the garlic! Just used it again. It was barely sprouted, and I removed the sprout, then barely blached it in oil and it ruined an entire pot of tomato sauce. Learn something new every day.