Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Tuckernuck White Clam Sauce

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
Tbsp butter
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.


  1. Laurie, those clams look amazing! I cannot imagine anything more idyllic than spending some time in a place like that part of Nantucket! I hope to visit one of these days:)
    When I was visiting my Italian friend in Abbruzzo, itali, her dad prepared Spaghetti alle Vongole and served pasta with clams (shells on) and similar sauce like yours. I loved it, but was a bit put off by the shells (after all, I come from continental Serbia, and shellfish was an unknown until then).
    Warm greetings from Serbia, and thank you, again, for connecting me with Natasa - she has been such a good friend for me lately, even though I have never seen her tete-a-tete:)

  2. Lana,
    It is idyllic and I am so grateful to be able to enjoy it. One day you will come here and I'll prepare our local version. So happy you are Natasha are close. xo

  3. 8 3 Latest with Full serial key 2012Ardamax Keylogger is a program that will intercept every single keystroke performed on your computer while you are on the Internet.

    This computer spy monitor keylogger is the
    keyboard shortcut. So if you are standing over his shoulder
    right there. Always review the security advice page on your online banking provider's website.