Living on an island has many advantages, on of which is FRESH SEAFOOD! I can remember sailing in the bay and seeing people bobbing up and down, then going underwater and putting something into the inner tube they were holding onto. Or people holding a strange-looking long tool and digging in the water for something. When I asked my father what they were doing he said “They’re clamming”. Being young I was intrigued. “You see,” Dad went on, “you can’t catch a clam with a fish-hook, you have to dig for them. You can feel them with your feet and that’s why they go underwater. To pick the clams out of the soil and place them in their basket connected to the inner tube they are holding on to. They are delicious!” The thought of going into the murky bay and picking something out of the soil scared me because I had been bitten by crabs so many times while swimming and used to catch eels, blow fish and oyster crackers off the dock. What if they attacked me? I decided then and there that clamming was not something I was interested in trying. I was happy to stay in the boat with Dad and keep on sailing. He said they were delicious and I believed him but this is also the man who ate pickled pigs feet on special occasions, so there was a hint of doubt.
As I grew older I did develop a liking to clams and many other kinds of seafood. My favorite way to cook clams is steamed in a white wine broth with lots of garlic & parsley.
1 dozen little neck clams
3 large cloves of garlic (chopped)
1 small bunch of parsley (flat leaf Italian – rough chop)
1/2 cup white wine (I used Chardonnay)
1/3 cup chicken broth
2 Tablespoons of butter
1-2 lemon wedges
extra melted butter for dipping (as much as you like!)
Wash clams, put all ingredients in a pot, cover and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes. The clams should be open by then. If not, give it another minute or two and check them. Don’t cook too long as they have a tendency to get tough. NEVER EAT CLAMS IF THEY DID NOT OPEN AFTER COOKING!
Serve in the pot or in a deep bowl with lemon wedges and melted butter.
A big thank you to all those clam diggers who brave the murky waters to be=ring us this delicious treat from the sea!