There is nothing better to eat than what you harvest yourself or even better what your friends harvest and cook for you. This is exactly what happened recently as I was travelling on the East Coast of Vancouver Island on a sailboat. Our friends called, and invited us to join them for dinner at their friends’ cottage. Without question, we sailed 50 nautical miles to meet them. The treat was that all the food originated from the local coast in the last 24 hours, all we had to do was show up, contribute two bottles of BC VQA and listen to the stories good food inevitably brings out.
There were Pacific oysters cooked on the BBQ by our host, large prawns caught the day before, and two kinds of clams, dug out from the sand. The clams were the rarest item as they can only be dug safely at the lowest tides which occur about four times per lunar cycle. They can be gathered with a rake or a shovel in inter-tidal areas. Our host family had done just that and when we arrived the clams were soaking in a bucket of sea water and being rinsed and strained frequently to get rid of all the sand. It takes about a day to clean them properly of all grit, which is so worth it when you eat them.
The recipe itself was very simple, our hostess sauteed chopped green onions, chives, basil, and finely diced garlic ( lots of garlic) in butter on low heat, everything had to be chopped by hand very finely. She then added an undisclosed amount of dry white wine from BC, probably quite a lot. Then the drained clams were added for just the time it took for the shells to open and the dish to be hot. The clams were a mix of Manila clams, the best species sought out by connoisseurs, and Varnish clams, a species introduced from Japan by accident with oyster seeds over 50 years ago. The Fisheries say they are somewhat invasive, they don’t specify whether in a good or bad way. Can we have too many clams?