Vongole and Clam Digging at Lopez Island

We go clam digging a few times a year, usually when we go camping.  Camping is truly one of the great things about living in Pacific Northwest.  There are many great sites to choose from and only a couple of hours of driving can get us to pretty amazing places.  

Lopez Island in San Juan Islands is definitely one of our favorite places to camp.  We were there only for one night stay last weekend, but we maximized our time for clam digging and chilling at the beach.  

I'm nostalgic about doing things I enjoyed doing as a kid with my kids.  I grew up in a countryside and I make sure that my kids get enough nature time.  I used to go clamming during the summers as a child back in Japan where I grew up.  It's a great activity with the kids and we get to eat fresh clam! 

I found myself lost in digging and the kids doing something else after about an hour of digging - as usual.  We got about 50 medium-size varnish clams, enough for making a variety of dishes.  

I usually eat clams or any selfish steamed or in miso soup.  I made Vongole this time.  If you are not familiar with Vongole, it is a pasta dish usually made with small clams, garlic, white wine and spaghetti.  Delicious and always look rustic and I just love it. 

Feel free to comment and let me know if you have any recommendation for a dish to make with clams ; )

*Cleaning clam is a bit of work but easy.  It is important to do before consuming for sure. 

Recipe: 4 servings / Cooking time: 30 minutes


About 20 medium-sized clams or 30 small clams
A hand full of dried spaghetti 
1 cup of dry white wine
2 table spoons of olive oil
3 big cloves of garlic minced
a small bunch of Italian parsley chopped
sea salt
chilli pepper (optional)

Cleaning clams:
Find dead clams or clams with cracks and disregard them.  Soak the rest of clams in fresh water for at least 20-30 minutes and let the sand come out of the clams.  Brush dirt off the shells and rinse them.

Put water in a large pot and bring it boil.  Add a table spoon of salt, put pasta in and stir slightly.  Cook for about 6-8 minutes, slightly undercooked than al dente.

While pasta is cooking, heat up a frying pan at medium heat and put 2 table spoons of extra virgin olive oil in.  Add minced garlic and then clams.  Stir a little and very quickly add chopped parsley, salt, pepper.  Pour a cup of white wine in and stir.  Let it simmer for a minute and wait for a few minutes for the shells to open.  Disregard the unopened deal ones.  

Pasta should be cooked enough by now.  Add pasta straight from the pan into the clam pan with a little of pasta water and stir or toss around until they are mixed well and pasta is perfectly al dente.


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