AKA Clam Digging
This is something that isn’t as complicated as it may seem. Really all you need is a clam rake and a permit. The permit can be purchased at Nantucket Police Department at 4 Fairgrounds Road ($25 for residents, $100 non-residents). You can pick up a clam rake from Brant Point Marine next to the town pier (and possibly Tugboat Tim’s on Old South Road) and head out to the water. You want to head to a harborside beach during low tide – we like 40th Pole, Coatue and Pocomo. Then go nuts. You rake holding the handle at about a 45 degree angle and drag the teeth of the rake through the sand. You will know you hit something – it will feel like a rock in the basket – it just may be, or you may have nabbed your first clam. Make sure you review the regulations with your shellfish permit to be sure you are throwing back the Quahogs that are too small.
I like to prepare the Quahogs in a variety of ways. The first is the simplest – just scrub the shells with cold water and set aside. Prepare a sauce pan with a lid – and put a giant gob of butter in the bottom, as much garlic as you can handle and sautée on medium heat until the garlic is fragrant and cooked through. Next, add about a quarter cup of wine to deglaze the pan, add the clams and cover. They only need to be cooked until they open – just a couple of minutes. If they don’t open – they are duds – don’t eat them.
I also like clams casino – which is a good way to get the kids to eat their catch. Simply open the clam – don’t loose the juice, (you can pick up a knife specifically for this when you purchase your clam rake) – top it with bacon and broil until bacon is crisp.
You can also eat them raw – with cocktail sauce – or stuff them with breadcrumbs and have stuffed clams – but I find the latter of these too labor intensive after a day at the beach.