Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day Clambake

Okay, so it wasn't really a clambake in the true sense of the word, but here at FOTL headquarters we celebrated yet another peaceful transfer of executive office by tucking into a bowl full of Hood Canal littlenecks.

The proprietor of this here blog (me) is feeling especially patriotic today, and what better way to honor the turning of another leaf in our storied history than by feasting on the wild bounty that graces this land from sea to shining sea. (And while we're at it, it's worth remembering the commitment from all of us, including the commander-in-chief, that's necessary to insure the enjoyment of such bounty for generations to come.)

The clams, both native littlenecks and non-native Manilas, came from a beach not too far from the mouth of Hood Canal at Foulweather Bluff. Good-sized gravel made the digging somewhat arduous, but the clams were large and numerous. We also found another less common species of bivalve that I'll talk about in my next post.

Steamed Clams with Pancetta, Wine & Cream

This is a variation on a classic dish that you see in restaurants all the time. Fresh thyme is an essential ingredient, and if you don't have pancetta, good slab bacon is fine. Also, make sure the clams have purged sediment and grit; about 24 hours in clean salt water for freshly harvested.

2 dozen steamer clams, scrubbed
2-3 oz pancetta, or 2 thick slices of quality bacon, diced
1 large shallot, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
1 tbsp parsley, chopped
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup cream
1 tbsp butter
thyme sprigs for garnish

Using a heavy pot, saute the pancetta in butter over medium heat until crisp on the edges. Stir in shallot, then garlic a minute later. Cook another minute or two until softened before de-glazing with wine. Stir in cream and herbs and raise heat to medium-high. Add clams and cover, cooking until they open, several minutes. Eat with good bread for sopping up the ambrosial liquid. Serves 2 as an appetizer.


Lo said...

I can't think of a better way to celebrate... just about anything! Freshly harvested clams make this Midwestern girl swoon!

drfugawe said...

Fin, my good man - Let us begin this first day of the rest of our lives with congratulations to the American people for their collective insight and intelligence (something I had feared lost!), and much hope for the promise of tomorrow.

Hey, I'll trade you some Coos Bay cockles for some Hood Canal littlenecks.

Langdon Cook said...

Doc - You anticipated my next post...

Lo - I once swooned into a bowl of clams in Dublin, but that had more to do with previous Guinness intake!

Hunter Angler Gardener Cook said...

Dude, just 1 dozen clams per person? These be tight times, methinks...


When it comes to clams, I tend toward eating them by the score; I think I may have hit the 100-mark once or twice. Ain't gluttony grand?

Langdon Cook said...

Hank, this is the Age of the Hairshirt. Anyway, it says serves 2 *as an appetizer*--but I hear you. The little buggers go down easy once you get rolling... On the other hand, the cream and bread sopping conspire to slow down even a true glutton, so be warned.

Anonymous said...

wonderful stuff - love littlenecks, and this is a great recipe for them.

Really enjoying your blog!