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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

June 5, 2013 at 10:08 AM

Chef Tom Douglas serves up advice on how to prepare Manila clams


The plug will be pulled on local marine waterways, and low tides in the coming weeks and summer months ahead will provide ample beach exposure for those heading out to gather steamer clams.

Seattle chef and restaurateur Tom Douglas will contribute some of his tasty cooking advice and recipes for the Reel Time Fishing NW blog in our Catch of the Week each Wednesday through October. Catch of the Day will also include recipes from other local chefs, tackle shop owners and fish-market owners.

Douglas is owner of Lola, Palace Kitchen, Dahlia Lounge, Dahlia Bakery, Etta’s, Serious Pie Downtown, Seatown, Brave Horse Tavern, Cuoco, Serious Biscuit and Serious Pie Westlake. Another new Douglas restaurant, Tanaka San will open in June at the Via6 Apartment Complex in downtown Seattle.

Here is Douglas’ advice on how to prepare Manila clams, and wow your guests at the next meal:

Manila clams- small, sweet, tender, meaty, and versatile- are found abundantly, both wild and farmed, in our local waters.  A batch of steamed clams is the easiest way to go; figure on about a pound of clams per person.  Rinse the clams well and put them in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat with a good splash of white wine, a bit of chopped shallot, and a few thyme sprigs.  Cover the pan and cook, giving the pan a shake or stir now and then, until the clams open.  Swirl in a knob of soft butter towards the end of cooking to add a little richness.  Divide the clams and juices between two large shallow soup bowls, set out a loaf of crusty bread, open a bottle of Washington Chardonnay, and voila! – a satisfying meal for two  that’s on the table in less than 15 minutes.

There are plenty of other things to do with clams.  A creamy New England style clam chowder with crisp bites of bacon and soft cubes of potato is classic, but did you ever try a Chinese style composed soup with clams?  Heat a saucepan of chicken stock, add some aromatics such as coins of sliced fresh ginger and dashes of fish sauce and soy, then add a few handfuls  of clams, cover the pot and cook until the clams open.  Serve the clams and the broth in soup bowls with your preferred garnishes.  I like to add thin slices of sweet, fatty lup chong sausage, a small heap of bright green seaweed salad, crunchy julienned carrots, and of course a squeeze of fresh lime.

If you’re in the mood for pasta, nothing can beat a plate of clam linguine.  In addition to the usual suspects like pasta, butter, and clams, I make mine with a good scattering of diced and browned pancetta, both a healthy squeeze of lemon juice and the grated zest, and a shower of chopped parsley.  My secret ingredient is roasted and minced jalapeno for heat, and, in spite of that Italian thing about no cheese with fish, I like to shave Parmesan cheese over the top.

Low tides expose beaches this week

If you plan on making a shellfish gathering trip to a beach be sure to check the state Fish and Wildlife’s website to know what beaches are open and closed. For details, go to

Puget Sound low tides: Thursday, June 6, minus-1.0 feet at 10:17 a.m.; Friday, June 7, -1.3 at 10:49 a.m.; Saturday, June 8, -1.5 at 11:21 a.m.; Sunday, June 9, -1.5 at 11:55 a.m.; Monday, June 10, -1.4 at 12:30 p.m.; Tuesday, June 11, -1.2 at 1:06 p.m.

The next extreme low tide series will happen during the week of June 20-27, and lowest tide that time will be Sunday, June 23 with a -3.6 at 11:11 a.m.

(Photo by Greg Gilbert, Seattle Times staff photographer)





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