Cedar Key clams are a Florida favorite

Steamed Littleneck Clams

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic, finely chopped
  • 24 littleneck clams
  • 3 cups seafood stock or clam juice
  • 1 cup water
  • 1-28 oz. can crushed San Marzano-style tomatoes
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp. anchovy paste
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp. dry oregano
  • 2 tsp. dried basil
  • Fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • ½ pound dry pasta (linguine or fettucine)

Directions

Serves 2

In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, sauté garlic in olive oil, until lightly browned. Remove from heat and stir in tomatoes, stock/clam juice, water, wine, anchovy paste, butter and spices. Then cover and bring to a boil, reducing liquid by about 25 percent. Add dry pasta to the liquid and cook until al dente (not quite fully cooked), about 10 minutes. Just before serving, add the clams to the sauce, cover and cook until the clams fully open, about 5 minutes. Serve clams with sauce and pasta, allowing about 12 clams per person. Garnish with parsley.

Cedar Key clams in a robust tomato sauce bring a taste of the sea to a pasta dish.

Tips

Quahogs are a species of hard-shelled clam that can be found in various sizes. Littlenecks are the smallest. Cherrystones and topnecks are larger, and generally chewier. “Cedar Key Sweets” are littleneck clams, farmed by Cedar Key Aquaculture Farms, and, as are other sizes of Cedar Key clams, available in specialty seafood markets.

When you purchase clams, be sure they’re closed, or close immediately when tapped with a finger. They should also feel heavy and solid. Keep clams cold until it’s time to cook, and with this recipe, or any using mollusks, take care not to overcook. Tender is best. FS

First Published Florida Sportsman Magazine October 2018

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