Summer time low tides are coming up this week in Puget Sound and Hood Canal, and will expose many beaches for shellfish gathering especially the highly sought after Manila clams.
In this week’s Seafood Recipe of the Week, Anthony’s Restaurant Chef Pat Donahue offers a wonderful recipe on how to prepare and wow your next guests at the dinner table. Anthony’s will contribute some of their cooking advice and recipes for the Reel Time Fishing NW blog in our Catch of the Week each Wednesday.
Other contributing experts are Chef Tom Douglas; Tiffany Haugen, Outdoor Cooking expert/author; tackle shop owners; local seafood-market owners; and fishing guides and charter services.
Here is some history and advice from Chef Donahue on how to prepare a tasty Manila clam dish:
Manila clams originated in Japan. They were accidentally introduced to Washington State in oyster seed shipments from Japan back in the 1920’s. They quickly became acclimated to our waters and they can now be found from British Columbia to northern California. Since they are a shallow burrower, they can be easily harvested by hand diggers and sport diggers.
The clams are very similar in size and appearance to littlenecks except that they are more oblong in shape. The internal surface of the shells are normally stained a deep purple color or yellow. They are known for their small size and incredibly sweet flavor.
One of the most common ways to cook Manila clams is to simply steam them. They are classically made with pasta dishes or soups and pair wonderfully with a salty meat such as pancetta or dry salami. Chef Pat Donahue loves to serve clams by simply steaming them with garlic, salami and fennel and topped with chopped pistachios and diced tomato.
Fresh Manila Clams with Salami, Fennel and Fresh Basil
1 pound Manila clams
1 fluid ounce of water
1 teaspoon light olive oil
½ teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons seeded and diced tomatoes, ½ inch chop
½ ounce dry salami cut ¼- ½ inch thick
1 teaspoon fresh chopped basil
¼ ounce toasted and chopped pistachios
1/8 cup fennel, sliced thin
Heat oil in large pan over medium heat and add garlic. Add salami, fennel, clams, water and basil. Increase heat to high and cover until clams open- about 2 to 3 minutes. Sprinkle with pistachios and diced tomato.
Serves two as an appetizer or one as an entrée.
If you go clam digging
The last minus low tide series of the summer in Puget Sound and Hood Canal to gather clams begins Thursday.
Northern Puget Sound Low tides are: Thursday, Aug. 7, minus-1.0 feet at 8:26 a.m.; Friday, Aug. 8, -1.7 at 9:18 a.m.; Saturday, Aug. 9, -2.2 at 10:08 a.m.; Sunday, Aug. 10, -2.3 at 10:56 a.m.; Monday, Aug. 11, -2.0 at 11:42 a.m.; and Tuesday, Aug. 12, -1.2 at 12:29 p.m.
Before heading to a beach know the rules first by checking the regulation pamphlet. Then check the state Fish and Wildlife web site at http://wdfw.wa.gov, and their hotline at 866-880-5431 or http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/.
State Fish and Wildlife also offers a good interactive shellfish map at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/beaches/.
Lastly, call the marine biotoxin hotline at 800-562-5632 or visit the Department of Health web site at www.doh.wa.gov/CommunityandEnvironment/Shellfish.aspx.