One of the pleasures of spending the summer on the Oregon Coast is clam digging. We dig our clams in the morning at low tide and they form the basis for our dinner that evening. We had been used to having spaghetti and clams in white wine sauce but I felt it was time for a change. It was suggested that I add Leo’s name to the dish as a salute to a restaurant in Seattle (now defunct) where we celebrated a family birthday many years ago. Although we all enjoyed our dinner, one member of the party had what he still considers the best meal of his life. His dish was linguine with scallops and clams in a red sauce. We concluded that the secret ingredient was anchovies, which add complexity without being overtly identifiable. The dish was delicious, but our enjoyment of dinner at this restaurant may have been elevated by the fact that we were sitting on a deck overlooking Puget Sound with a view of the crescent moon setting over Mount Olympus, celebrating the birthday of the person we love the most—our son.
- Sea Salt
- 1/2 pound linguine
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 anchovy fillets, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1/4 cup capers, drained
- 2 Tbs. fresh oregano, chopped (1 Tbs. reserved for garnish)
- 14 oz. can chopped tomatoes
- about 30 littleneck clams, scrubbed
- 1/2 cup white wine
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (optional)
- Fill a large pot with water and place over high heat. Add a generous amount of salt and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain well and toss with a little olive oil so pasta does not stick together.
- Heat 2 Tbs. of olive oil in a large skillet. Add anchovies, garlic, onion, red pepper flakes, capers and chopped oregano. Saute for a couple of minutes until the onions began to soften. Add the tomatoes and juice and simmer the sauce for about 15 minutes. Add the clams to the sauce and stir to coat. (Note: You may have to cook the clams in batches, depending on the size of the skillet and how large the clams are.) When the sauce comes back to a simmer, add the wine. Cover the pan to let the clams steam open. Remove clams to a bowl as they open. When all of the clams have opened add the lemon juice and salt and pepper. Toss the linguine and clams in the sauce until well coated. Garnish with olive oil, chopped oregano, and parmesan cheese, if desired.