Friday, October 02, 2020

Linguini with white clam sauce

This is one of my favorite dishes. I still remember one version that I had in Half Moon Bay, California, in early 2003. And another that we made while vacationing on the Ile d'Oléron in 2008. The fishermen were on strike, so there was no fish in the markets. But there was shellfish and we bought some clam-like critters called lavagnons locally, and they were really good in this dish. The fish monger in Saint-Aignan (who has since retired) often had lavagnons, but she also had coques (cockles) at a better price, so I started buying them. And they're excellent.

One kilogram of cockles.

Yesterday I drove over to the weekly Thursday market in Selles-sur-Cher (about twenty minutes away) because a friend told me that one of the fish mongers there usually had coques available, and sure enough, she did. And for an even better price that I was used to paying in Saint-Aignan. Score!

Garnished with parsley and ready to serve!

So we made the recipe, which is quite easy. First, Ken made a batch of fake sea water (30g of salt for 1 liter of water) for the bivalves to rest in. We added about a tablespoon of finely ground cornmeal and let the coques purge themselves of sand for an hour or so. In the meantime, Ken chopped a shallot and some garlic, then sweated that on low heat in some olive oil. Next, we drained the coques and rinsed them, added them to the pan with some white wine, and let it steam, covered, until the shells opened. When they were done, we added the cooked linguini and some chopped parsley and served it with plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Yum!


  1. The best I ever had was in Florence, oh my.

  2. Linguini with white clam sauce is one of my all time favorite meals. Do cockles taste much different from clams? I've never eaten them but only because of lack of opportunity.

  3. One of my favourites, too. And yours looks exquisite!

  4. travel, I'll bet that was good!

    bettyann, I think they're a little nuttier than clams. They're also smaller, so bite sized.

    evelyn, we try!

    mitch, :)

  5. my soul swoons. I would so like to try this. I will look out for trying this whenever I get back to a restaurant.
    I doubt I can find me some cockles here in the roasting desert.


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