|The Edwards' home in Silverton, Oregon|
Earlier today as we walked the property in the brisk afternoon I couldn't help but imagine myself holed up in their tiny, red guesthouse working hard on my first novel, a pot of tea steaming on the stove as my fingers tap, tap, tapped the keyboard. The clouds piled high above our heads as we rode the tractor back to the house.
This place has a mix of both homey familiarity and a sense of belonging I can feel nowhere else but in Oregon, where the trees and the mud and the icy mountain streams make up the very blood in my veins. This sensation grows as we trudge through the fields in high rubber boots down to a nearby creek, stopping to admire rose hips and forgotten blackberries still red and unripened on the vine. Moss grows thickly on the little wooden bridge crossing the creek and the coffee colored water rushes under us, drowning out the sound of my thumping, longing pulse.
|Digging for clams in Netarts, Oregon|
So we raked a little in the sandy tide pools and pop! up came a clam. We laughed at our luck but then pop! pop! pop! we scored more and more. Within 15 minutes we'd drawn a small crowd and the legal per day catch limit. This was definitely the easiest clam digging I'd ever done.
As you can see from the photo, these clams are quite large. They have a hard, textured shell and are technically called cockles. Before you steam, broil, slurp, or chowderize your cockles, be sure to soak them in an open container of fresh water for at least a couple hours or up to 12. Do not cover with a lid as the cockles need to be able to breath. Soaking them allows the excess sand to seep out before cooking. We skipped this step because we were so excited to eat them, but trust me, it's vital, we were eating some crunchy clams.
The recipe below is the simple way to enjoy clams. Serve with crusty bread, pasta, or hot cooked rice.
|Fresh, steamed Oregon cockles|
Steamed Oregon Cockles
20 cockles (or your favorite clam)
1 cup white wine (salted water or broth is fine, too)
1 clove garlic, smashed
1 TBL butter
salt & pepper to taste
After the cockles have soaked in an uncovered container of fresh water for at least 2 and up to 12 hours, rinse and set aside.
In a large pot, add wine and and garlic over medium high heat. As soon as wine begins to boil, add cockles to the pot and cover. Be sure not to crowd the cockles. It helps to have a glass lid so you know when the shells have opened.
Steam for 3-5 minutes or until shells have opened wide. Discard any that do not open. Serve with the wine/butter mixture and add salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!