Prepared by chef Torin Egan, Northern Quarter
This story originally appeared in the Spring 2020 issue of The Growler, out now! You can find B.C.’s favourite craft beer and cider guide at your local brewery, cidery, select private liquor stores, and on newsstands across the province.
Since it opened in 2015, Victoria’s Northern Quarter brought the best of B.C. under one roof, whether it was food, craft beer, wine, spirits, or hosting local artists and performers. And with its impressive cellar of bottled craft beer—arguably the most extensive and well-curated in the province—it was absolutely a beer nerd’s paradise.
Sadly, Northern Quarter closed for good in early March, but with the help of chef and former co-owner Torin Egan, we’ve resurrected one of the restaurants most popular signature dishes: savoury clams with lamb and charred leeks.
Egan’s love for local craft beer is evident in Northern Quarter’s menu, which featured fresh B.C. ingredients paired and prepared with B.C. brews.
When cooking with beer, Egan warns to be mindful of the beer’s flavour.
“Although hoppy flavours can pair well with spicy foods, using a hoppy beer in a dish can make it too bitter,” he says. But using the right beer with the right ingredients can add another layer of complexity to a dish.
“Sour beers are a great way to add acidity to seafood dishes, such as a sour beer mignonette on fresh oysters. Darker malty beers like stouts and porters are a great addition to desserts as well, like in an ice cream, or just substituting beer for any liquid in the dish.”
This deliciously simple take on steamed clams brings new meaning to “surf and turf,” and substitutes Hoyne Brewing’s Pilsner for wine or stock—the clean and crisp lager is the perfect addition and won’t overpower the clams.
“There are a lot of favourite flavours of mine in this dish,” explains Egan. “The smokiness of the lamb bacon, the savoury saltiness of miso, the char of the leeks and the subtle sweetness of the clams… it all works very well together.
“Hopefully people will see this and realize how quick and easy it is to make!”
• 1 pound (450 g) washed and scrubbed clams or mussels
• 3 rashers of lamb bacon (substitute with pork belly if you can’t source lamb bacon)
• 1 leek; trimmed, sliced lengthwise, washed, and charred on a grill or in a cast iron pan
• 1 tbsp pureed garlic confit (recipe below)
• 1 tbsp miso butter (recipe below)
• 1 cup Hoyne Pilsner
1. Take 20 cloves peeled garlic (two bulbs) and place in a small pot and cover with canola oil. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat.
2. Cook slowly until garlic cloves are soft. Drain, while reserving the garlic oil. Add to a blender and puree, while adding in some of the reserved oil until smooth.
3. Cool and keep refrigerated until use.
1. Cream 4 tbsp of room temperature unsalted butter and 2 tbsp of shiro miso together with a fork until fully mixed.
2. Season with black pepper.
3. Roll into a log with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
Prepare the clams
1. Slice lamb bacon into lardons, and cook in large frying pan on medium heat until crispy.
2. Add clams, garlic confit puree, and leeks. Add beer, cover.
3. When clams have opened and beer has reduced slightly, add miso butter. Stir until butter has fully melted into the sauce and remove from heat.
4. Discard any unopened clams, top with fresh parsley or chives and serve with grilled or toasted sourdough.
- The Spring 2020 issue of The Growler is out now! You can find B.C.’s favourite craft beer and cider guide at your local brewery, cidery, select private liquor stores, and on newsstands across the province.