There is nothing like fresh seafood plucked from the sea. Last weekend I picked up a couple dozen sweet Manilla clams from Hog Island Oyster at the Berkeley Farmer’s Market. Hog Island Oyster is an oyster farm located north of San Francisco, in an area called Tomales Bay. The company was founded by three marine biologists who shared the same passions, the ocean, and quality seafood. They quit their day jobs and started Hog Island Oysters in 1983 and ever since they have been producing bushels of Pacific Oysters (Crassostrea gigas), Kumamoto Oysters (Crassostrea sikamea), Atlantic Oysters (Crassostrea virginica) and mussels as well as the sweet Manila clams that I picked up.
At first, the clams caught my eye because they were so small and oddly, cute. I bellied up to the makeshift oyster bar, slurped down a couple sweet oysters and made my decision. The last two dozen of clams would be coming home with me. I knew they would be plump, sweet and delicious by themselves, so I decided not to get too crazy about cooking them. Something simple. On the drive home I decided I would steam them with yellow onion, lots of garlic, piri piri and white wine. I served them simply over a big bowl of freshly made pasta with a loaf of warm crusty bread ….. all that was left was to pass the wine!
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Spicy Clams with Pasta
- 1 yellow onion, small dice
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 tablespoons piri piri sauce – Portuguese hot sauce
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 lbs small clams, scrubbed clean
- 1/2 bottle white wine
- parsley, handful, roughly chopped
- kosher salt, to taste
- fettuccine, we like to make ours
- Heat olive oil in a large dutch oven.
- Add onion, cook over low heat, until soft, about 15 minutes.
- Add garlic and piri piri sauce, give a stir.
- Add clams, give a couple good stirs to mix ingredients.
- Pour in about 1/2 bottle of white wine.
- Cover with a lid and let steam until clams pop open.
- Season with salt. Stir in parsley.
- Pour over a big bowl of pasta.