The Jersey shore is known for many things: busy beaches and boardwalk attractions, funnel cake, and Lucy the Elephant among them (I’m not even going to entertain the notoriety of a certain MTV show, ’cause that’s just not my Jersey). But few people walk in to one of the supermarkets located in a Jersey beach town and get bowled over by the quality and selection. Sorry Super Fresh. I love your convenience, but big chain distribution methods mean your corn has been off the stalk longer than Snookie’s been negotiating rights on a new cable program.
Which is why the Ocean City, NJ, farmer’s market is such a welcome surprise. Held every Wednesday morning from late June through the first week of September in the parking lot behind the Ocean City Tabernacle Church, the farmer’s market brings the freshest of Jersey Fresh to this seaside town. Table after table piled with peaches, plums, eggplant, cucumbers, zucchini, tomatoes, famous Jersey corn, cut flowers, fresh-baked pies and baked goods, fabulous pizzas and creamy mozzarella from Tony’s Farm Table, fresh-caught seafood…it’s all at the farmer’s market.
The market was both a short walk from our beach house and a welcome diversion on a Wednesday morning that was looking just a little too overcast for the beach. I felt like a kid in a candy store. The kids felt like kids in a pastry store. We walked away with Danish pastries from Blue Dolfin Sweets, sticky buns, string beans, potatoes, corn, basil, apples, plums, a big pint of blackberries (which the girls SHARED – nicely! – on the walk home), and local clams. Oh – and two strawberry lemonades.
Randall’s Seafood of Pleasantville, NJ, is the fish monger at the market and provided the public service of posting this wonderfully uncomplicated recipe for steaming clams right on the cooler in his stand. I loved the kitsch of it all and of course had to make it and pass this recipe along. And if you go to the Ocean City farmer’s market, definitely stop by his stand early. He sold out of all his fresh fish within the first two hours, which was a good sign as far as I was concerned. Also, he added a couple of clams into my order of two dozen just in case some didn’t open. But they all did. Bonus! Love that kind of customer service.
Steamed Clams with White Wine, Garlic and Butter
Plenty of butter
Plenty of garlic
Not too much dry white wine
Beer to drink (Coronas preferred)
Melt butter over medium heat.
Add garlic, 2-3 minutes – don’t burn.
Add wine, increase heat to medium high simmering boil.
Add clams 5 to 7 minutes.
Stir them up.
Add parsley and throw in lemon wedges.
Great over linguine.
Serves: However many you planned to serve! Plan on 6 – 12 clams per person.
Kid rating: OK, these weren’t for the kids. These were purely for me. Daughter 1 passed on the clams. Daughter 2, however, ate half a dozen and gives them three and a half stars.
Parent rating: Five stars. Happy happy. Again, these were for me! My husband does not care for clams (and that is putting it nicely). I, however, love them. So I was in hog heaven with both the clams and this wonderful, fortuitous recipe. Go Jersey!