Cape Cod's Taste of The Sea
Every September on Cape Cod I look forward to my favorite end of the Summer dinner... Taste of the Sea. More then just a fancy version of linguini with clams, it's a meal of remembrance. Every time I get to savor this delicate yet hearty dish I am reminded of my loving, strong and soft spoken father-in -law, "big" Van who was a genius in the kitchen. I joke to my husband, Finian that I when we started dating I may have been wooed by his father's delicious and detail oriented cooking. This year as an added bonus we began my mother in law, Cathy's signature meal with a Caprese salad. A perfect way to get your palate wet without ruining you appetite. Acquiring the ingredients for this delicious dinner is never a one stop shop. Instead, we make an afternoon going from farmers market, to farm stand, to fish market enjoying the touch, smells, and tastes of the different ingredients. This year we started in Sandwich (yes, that's the name of the town), at Crow Farm, a farmer's market located on Cape Cod's oldest road, 6A. Like many of the Farmers Markets in Cape Cod, Crow Farm is only open May-September. There we picked up fresh fettuccine, mozzarella, parsley, lemons and shallots.
From there we went to another adorable farm stand in West Barnstable, called Homestead Farms. With the abundance of tomato varieties, I new that we would be making a tomato salad for dinner, but Cathy was the one to decide on the Caprese salad. A perfect precursor to the Taste of the Sea. After that we took a ride to Cape Fish and Lobster, in Hayannis to pick up the littleneck clams. Sadly its almost impossible to get littlenecks on the West Coast, so I try to eat them every chance I get when visiting New England. Finally the adventures in food purchasing was complete. It was time to go home, open a bottle of Chardonnay and make the meal! Every time Cathy makes this dish its slightly difference depending on the flavors of the season and what's available, but every time is just as good and nostalgic as the time before. I hope you enjoy the meal as much as we did!
1 pound freshly made fettuccine
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 shallots, finely chopped
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
40 littleneck clams, scrubbed clean
1 cup white wine
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons unsalted butter
1 freshly grated zest of lemon
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the fettuccine and cook until al dente. At the same time in a large pan, heat the oil over a medium flame. Add the shallots and saute until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté until the garlic is golden brown, another 3 minutes. Add the clams, wine, 2 tablespoons of parsley and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper. Cover and simmer until most of the clams have opened, about 6 minutes. Stir in the butter to slightly thicken the sauce.
Drain the fettuccine, keeping 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Do not rinse the fettuccine. The natural starches make the pasta absorb the flavor of the sauce. On a plate, use a tong to serve the fettuccine and spoon the clams and sauce onto each plate. Sprinkle each plate with lemon zest. Garnish with the remaining parsley and serve.