varnish clams from lilliwaup

once you leave i-5 and get onto rt-101, say after a few miles north, you then drive along that small curvy highway urging most spectacular views of hood canal. breathtaking panoramas, the road winding down from olympic mountains along water's edge, dauntingly beautiful scenes of a seascape, stretching north to the horizon.
we drove up that way initially only to get oysters from hamma hamma oyster company in lilliwaup, and once there, were made to realize that oysters are not available for raw eating 'til mid october. the oyster's atlantic R-month-notions apparently don't apply to the wrong coast, as water temperatures stay warmish for longer than those back home.
who knew? 
clams are a different sort. so they say. so, alle vongole it was, rosso at that. delicious, garlicky, delightfully so. yet what a mess to photograph. once the dish was done, clams, sauce, spaghetti, the lot in bowls on the table, who cared about making an image. too hungry to wait, too sloppy and lethal for a straight picture, so here i can only show an image of those beautiful clams in their shell and the recipe, of course.

my tomato sauce these days is a result of those local brandywines. anchovies, a handful of chopped basil, all reduced and sieved to make a creamy sauce. well buttered, of course. the clams settle in a few changes of water to rid their meat of any sand left in their system. steamed open,  removed from their shell (i hate that dinky notion of clam-meat-in-shell-in-sauce), their liquid strained into the lush salsa di pomodoroas the spaghetti roil and come due, i add a full head of well pureed roasted garlic to my sauce. this to retain its potent scent and ambrosial fragrance. clam meat and chopped parsley slip in just before serving. incidentally, if you have time and don't mind yet another damn thing to do: i often soak pureed roasted garlic cloves in soy sauce. this would add considerable flavor. 
so, by now it is spoon and fork time, or chopsticks, as in the case of stephanie. the whole thing is done 'eaten' the time it takes to down a good glass of chianti, even if you might want to discerne and properly savor each individual .