I just returned from a long weekend on Nantucket visiting my dear friend, Maryanne, and her husband, Michael. They live on the west end of the island in Madaket. It's often referred to as 'old Nantucket' as it consists of fairly small homes and charming cottages. This idyllic location hasn't been turned into a playground for the uber-rich with 5000+ sq ft homes and all the amenities that go along with that lifestyle. It's quiet, peaceful and serene. Let's hope it always stays that way.
The entrance to our Nantucket paradise.
We stay in the small cottage to the left.
Michael has been on the island for over 40 years now, and much of his career has been in the building business. He built his home and the guest cottage. He's also learned to fish, clam, scallop and run a boat, which provides us with great food from the sea whenever I visit.
Michael headed out to Tuckernuck, a small island just west of Madaket, and dug a bushel of clams in about a half hour. The shallow clean waters, filled with eel grass, provide a rich supply of little necks and quahogs. With the exchange of water twice a day, and the fact that Nantucket is 35 miles out to sea, they're the best hard clams I've ever tasted, so I was thrilled to bring a large bag home with me.
Tuckernuck White Clam Sauce (Serves two, or four as a starter)
12-14 little neck clams
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
Extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup white wine, or dry vermouth
Fresh parsley, chopped
8 oz of pasta, cooked al dente (I used quinoa pasta which is gluten-free)
Put your pan of water on the stove to boil. Cook off the pasta while you prepare the clam sauce. Rinse your clams in a colander to remove any sand on the outside and set aside.
Add about a tsp of olive oil to a saute pan and heat until warm. Add the garlic and saute just until the garlic starts to brown. Add 1/4 cup white wine and then add the clams to the pan.
Cover the pan and allow the clams to simmer until they open. This should take 5-8 minutes. As they open remove them from the pan and set aside.
Add a tbsp of butter, about another tsp of olive oil, and the parsley to the pan. Saute for a minute.
Add the cooked pasta, turning to coat the pasta. Allow it to simmer until the pasta has absorbed most of the sauce. I used a quinoa gluten-free pasta that was delicious, but any pasta will do.
Place the pasta on a plate and garnish with the clams. The pasta absorbs the rich briny flavor of the clams and it took all of my willpower to just eat my half of this platter. Tuckernuck clams are truly a gift from the sea, and my Nantucket friends are a gift from above. Thank you for a spectacular weekend.