Linguine with Garden Herbs and Clams

linguine with clam sauceWe are seafood fans in our house, but we are also well-aware of how fragile the edible ocean is these days. For more than a decade, I’ve been referring to my Monterrey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Guide to help me find environmentally friendly seafood. In the past several years, as eating local has become my guiding principal, I’ve tried to apply that to seafood as well. In my backyard, Charlie Counts brings fresh North Carolina seafood to area farmers markets. And the revival of Virginia Oysters has made those an attractive option. But poking around our neighborhood Fresh Market, I was happy to find another sustainable seafood choice. There, in the display ice, was a small container of Chilantic Chopped Clams. They were affordable and local (in that they were harvested off the Virginia coast). And, I’m happy to say, they were quite delicious in this lovely dish. Here’s wishing for some good — and environmentally friendly — seafood eating for you, too!

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2-3 green onions, bulb and top, minced (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh oregano, de-stemmed and minced
  • 1/2 Tbsp. fresh thyme, stripped from stem
  • 1 tsp. fresh rosemary leaves, stripped from stem
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
  • 1 cup dry white wine or white cooking wine
  • 1 pound chopped clams (buy local if you can), plus broth
  • 1 pound linguine (store-bought works but homemade pasta will truly shine)
  • 1 cup spinach, Swiss chard or beet greens, washed, de-stemmed and chopped into ribbons
  • 2 Tbsp. capers
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 Tbsp. Parmesan
  • Top with minced parsley or chopped fresh oregano

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in a deep cast iron pan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add garlic, green onions and herbs. Cook 1 to 2 minutes, until the garlic just begins to brown. Add salt and pepper.
  2. Pour in wine, clams and broth. Turn up heat to medium high. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until liquid is reduced by about one-third.
  3. In the meantime, heat pot of water with a pinch of salt to boiling. Add linguine and cook until al dente. Drain and set aside.
  4. Add spinach or other greens to the clam mixture. Stir in capers, then butter. Heat briefly until greens are just wilted and butter is melted.
  5. Toss linguine together with clam mixture. Taste and adjust seasonings. Top with Parmesan. Garnish with fresh herbs and serve.

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