We first made Rick Moonen’s linguine with clams a couple of years ago, while vacationing at a rental house on the Oregon coast. Fresh clams were abundant. And we liked that the recipe called for lots of chopped garlic and extra virgin olive oil. We ended up enjoying the pasta so much we made it twice that trip. It remains a favorite.
Moonen, a celebrated chef and leader in the sustainable seafood movement, sums up the dish this way: “There’s a really good hit of garlic in this dish, complementing the ocean brininess of the clams. It’s not for the faint of heart.” (Click here to get the recipe.)
We’re guessing the “faint of heart” may beg to differ, because this pasta is so good. The clams, which are removed from their shell, deliver lots of delicious broth that accompanies the pasta. The recipe appears in Fish Without a Doubt (Houghton Mifflin Co., 2008), an excellent cookbook and reference guide Moonen wrote with Roy Finamore.
In the book, Moonen and Finamore point out that oyster, clam and mussel farms are good forms of aquaculture. “In fact, since these shellfish filter seawater for their food — like powerful little vacuum cleaners — farmers raising oysters, clams, and mussels are often in the fore in keeping coastal waters clean,” they write.
Moonen, who operates the Las Vegas restaurant rm seafood, has impressive credentials. He graduated first in his class from New York’s Culinary Institute of America in 1978. He’s played a major role in New York City’s restaurant scene, earning three stars at three restaurants there: Oceana, Molyvos, and his own rm.
In 2005, he shuttered rm seafood and headed west, to Las Vegas, to open rm seafood at Mandalay Bay.
When he’s not behind the stove, Moonen can be found throughout the country talking about ocean conservation and the dangers of overfishing. He’s testified for environmental and sustainability policy issues in Washington and New York.
Claude S. Weiller
Vice President of Sales & Marketing
California Olive Ranch