Discover more from Colu Cooks
Brothy Clams with Cappelletti and Corn
Plus, a deep dive on clams and oysters - see what I did there?
Recipe below after some words by me on you guessed it… clams and oysters.
I’m crazy for clams - specifically hard shelled ones from the quahog family, which include littlenecks, cherrystones, etc.. Soft shell clams (AKA piss clams or steamers - no, you can’t eat the shell) are a real thing in this part of Nova Scotia and they are just not for me.
So I sought out where to find the ones I love and it took us on a drive to Malagash, about 45 minutes north, specifically to check out the the Purdy family’s Bay Enterprises. More about them below.
“The Purdy family has been growing oysters since 1867, but Charles Purdy along with his wife Nancy and daughter Rachel, founded Bay Enterprises Limited in 1974. Since then they have been successfully operating on more than 80 hectares of oyster and quahog beds in Malagash, Nova Scotia. They operate a shellfish hatchery, nursery system, and in-bay oyster spat collection of native oysters and quahogs using traditional and modern techniques. The Purdy family believes in the sustainable production of oysters and quahogs that protect the ecology of the area and provide a safe, nutritious and of course delicious product.” Taken from the Afishionado website.
I also love oysters, but due to the extremely high temps, vibrio (a natural bacteria in coastal waters) is present and they are currently unsafe to sell, or rather they are unsafe to eat raw, so they are not taking chances. I for one do not want a cooked oyster in August. Talk with me again in December where I might attempt an oyster pan roast… They are hoping the water cools down again in a week or so, when I will return to buy all the oysters, plus more clams. Also, Nancy and Charles are looking to retire, if you know anyone that would like to live on waterfront property and harvest shellfish - let me know!
Side note, but my dear friend Nils Bernstein is currently at work on a cookbook ALL about oysters. More on that when it’s available.
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A beautiful linen dress by my friend Kate Austin. Kate, I know I still owe you photos, I’m sorry!
Finally, the recipe! Please make it, it’s VERY DELICIOUS and comes together in no time. If you don’t eat meat, leave out the pancetta, if you can’t find dried cappelletti, use orecchiette. If I had basil available, I would have used some at the end, but I did not. If you make it - please let me know or share a photo on our favorite ever-trying-to keep-up social media app.
Brothy Clams with Cappelletti and Corn
8 ounces cappelletti or orecchiette pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 ounces pancetta (optional)
4 scallions, finely chopped, white and light green parts separated from the dark green ones
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 medium jalapeño, finely chopped
3 medium ears of corn, kernels removed
½ cup white wine
2 dozen littleneck or cherrystone clams, soaked and scrubbed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons, roughly chopped Italian parsley
Juice and zest of of one large lemon
Freshly ground black pepper
Toasted bread for serving
Bring a large pot of well salted water to a boil and cook pasta 1 minute shy of al dente. Drain and reserve 1 cup of the cooking water - you may need it, you may not, but better safe than sorry.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or stockpot over medium heat, add the pancetta and cook until golden and crispy, 6 to 7 seven minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate.
Add the white and light green parts of the scallions, garlic, jalapeño, and corn to the pot and stir to coat in the pancetta oil, adding a bit more olive oil if needed. Cook until the scallions and garlic softened and the corn begins to turn golden in spots, about 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in the clams and the white wine, bring to a simmer and cover.
At around the six minute mark, peek under the lid to see if the clams have started popping open, remove those that have to a bowl and remove them from their shells, keeping them with their juices. Check in another minute or so to remove the rest of the clams. Discard any that have note opened. Turn heat to low, stir in the butter along with the reserved clams and their juices along with the pasta, cook until the butter has melted and the pasta is glossy with sauce. It should be more brothy than a normal pasta dish, if needed, add a few tablespoons of the reserved pasta water.
Add the lemon zest and juice and a few good turns of black pepper. Stir again, taste and adjust with sauce as needed with salt and pepper. The clams and pancetta are already pretty salty. Scatter with the scallion greens and parsley. Ladle into bowls and serve with forks and spoons.
*You’ll see the photograph has clam shells in it. I did this for purely aesthetic reasons. You can choose whether or not to remove all the clams from their shells - half and half is also a good option.
Last but not least, if you’re not reading Sarah Copeland’s newsletter Edible Living - please do so. It’s a beauty.
See you soon.