April 26, 2014

Linguine Con Le Vongole

Saturday market in Bayeux

Last weekend I learned that I don't actually hate clams. Which is kind of a big deal.

I really do wonder where my strong aversion to clams came from.
I love steamed mussels and enjoy raw oysters when I have my favorite accompaniments on hand - fresh lemon juice, Crystal hot sauce and a saltine cracker as a carrier.
And several years ago a friend in France rolled his eyes at my fiercely loyal Louisiana-style of eating oysters and made me try his homemade mignonette sauce with the Marennes-Oléron variety, opening my eyes to a new and incredible combination of flavors. (for which I am forever grateful!)

Linguini con Vongole

Clams, however...I've avoided them like the plague for as long as I can remember, despite my husband's repeated requests for me to make linguine con le vongole, a dish he remembers ordering and loving every time he ate out in Italian restaurants in NYC.

Last week, on the advice of a friend, I broke down and bought a half a kilo of tiny local clams, called coques, at the market in Courseulles-sur-Mer. At lunch that day my husband finally got his wish. We sat outside in the garden and enjoyed platefuls of pasta with a delicious, spicy, sweet, very garlicky clam sauce.

As for me...I have been converted. I am now a clam lover. They'll be in season all summer long here in Normandy, so I plan on making up for lost time. I've definitely been missing out!

Fettuccine con Vongole

Clam shells

This is the recipe I used.

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Veronica said...

Clams! I love them. I don't know why I don't prepare them more often, but we ate tons of them when we were in the Delta del Ebro. Try the tiny fingernail-sized ones (tellines) -- they are amazing simply opened in a pan with a little oil and eaten as tapas. Or palourdes, with lots of garlic. I've already resolved to make linguine con vongole soon.

Piaf Vintage French said...

Looks wonderful! It seems like a great dish for celebrating the warmer weather, I'm feeling inspired to try this at home. Thanks!

Emm said...

Hooray for shifting gastronomic tastes. Sounds like a wonderful lunch.

spacedlaw said...

Strictly speaking Palourdes are clams, and Coques something else altogether. However, it doesn't really matter. I am glad that you found the light. Come to Italy, we'll feed you some.

Chez Bonne Femme said...

Wish the Internet (and your post) was around back when I was honeymooning on Fire Island. On a whim, I bought a bunch of fresh, live clams. Then, I realized I didn't know what to do with them.

So my husband and I drank a bottle of Champagne and released the little guys back into the sea.

I would have rather eaten them in a dish like yours!

Emily Grossman said...

I love clams, but I know so many people who don't! I even know people who will eat muscles but not clams - so interesting!

Glad you finally found a dish to make you love clams :)

Jennifer Greco said...

I can't believe I've been missing out all these years!

Piaf VF
Hope you do! I think you'll enjoy it.

Jennifer Greco said...

Indeed! It makes me think that maybe I should keep an open mind about other food items that scare me.

I thought coques are clams as well, just little clams?
And I would happily visit you in Italy!

Jennifer Greco said...

What a great story! :)
You'll have to make up for lost time, like me.

That was me. Mussels ok, clams not.
??? Makes no sense, really. Oh well!
I have happily changed my ways.

Ann Mah said...

Funnily enough, you are the second person this week to mention a clam aversion. I'm so glad you've overcome yours! I just tried clam pizza for the first time on Saturday (from Franny's in Brooklyn) and it was so good I've been craving it ever since. If you come to NYC, I'll take you there and we'll eat nothing else :)

spacedlaw said...

Not quite. Check Wiki for more details.

Jennifer Greco said...

Clam pizza, huh? Sounds great! :)
Let's go!

Ok, I'll have a look. Now I'm curious...