Week Two

It’s been another great week on the Oregon coast!  The sky was a little bit more grey than I’m accustomed, but I hear it’s all sun shine after the 4th of July.

Today I got down and dirty trying out some really coastal living.  One of many things I have been excited about living on the coast was all the fresh sea food, and of course there is nothing fresher than harvesting it yourself.  As tasty as tuna and even rockfish are they are slightly out my reach as a boat is required. However, many species of shellfish are easily harvested from the shore.

Having never clammed, crabbed or shrimped I was a little befuddled as to what to do once I bought my permit.  Luckily enough on my way out of the office that day I noticed a flyer, by the Oregon State Park ranger, advertising a free clamming, crabbing, etc. workshop for beginners, and so this morning I attended workshop.  The other attendees and I learned how to work a crab trap and how to bait it.  I learned how a shrimp pump worked and that the shrimp it catches are best used for fishing bait.  The clamming is what I was most interested in learning about.  I learned the gapper clams have long “necks”, sometimes up to three feet long, and so the body/shell of the clam can sit as far down as a yard under the sand.  It was advised that two to three people dig for one gapper clam at a time and they all close in around in it.  Talk about team work!

After the workshop the ranger took us all down to the mud flat and help us dig for our first purple varnish clams.  It only took a few minutes before I got the hang of in and within an hour I had hit the bag limit of 72 purple varnish clams a day.  It was recommend that before cooking the clams be left to soak in a mix of sea water and flour from several hours. So I hurried them home to set them to soak for dinner that night.

While letting them soak a few of my fellow Hatfield residents and I took a drive about 30 miles south of Newport to Cape Perpetua and the Devil’s Churn.  On that portion of the coast lava rock juts out of water just in front of the beach and the tidal waters get just high enough to fill the voids in the rock.  These salty pool were dotted with anemones and mussels.  Interestingly enough the pools closest to the mainland where filled with tadpoles, meaning they were fresh water.  I must have been filled by rain and just outside the reach of the tide.

After leaving them to sit for a few hours my fellow Hatfield residents and I steamed the clams in white wine, garlic and parsley and served them over linguine.  A delicious way to end the day if may say so.    The only thing I would have changed is that I would have left the clams to sit for just a bit longer because they were just a bit sandy still on the inside come dinner time.

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2 thoughts on “Week Two

  1. Thanks for the clam-cooking tip, I may have to try it. I never developed a taste for clams, but your post made me feel like I am missing out.

  2. It’s great when work and culinary pursuits intersect. Getting a taste for recreational seafood harvest will no doubt help you relate to fishermen who might use recompression devices – did you learn anything from your own experiences that may inform your work this summer?

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