Happy as a Clam

We are right at home in a rustic cottage on a tiny privately owned island, Little Lazygut, just off of Deer Isle on the Maine coast. At high tide, Little Lazygut is only about 300 yards wide, but there are nice beaches all around and it’s been all ours for the past few nights (cottage renters only here, kind of nice). We came over from nearby Stonington by boat shuttle and brought a tandem kayak along, which has been great for exploring nearby islands and coves.

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We’ve had killer sunsets, a full moon, outdoor fires, and lots of wildlife (birds, deer, even a mink). As for the cottage, there’s no electricity or running water, but there’s a propane powered fridge, stove, and oven, which has been the ticket to some great meals. And now that we are on day three, the name Lazygut seems to fit.

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Mainers seem to have their own vocabulary, and we are starting to catch on a bit. And in addition to learning some new expressions, we are also learning a bit about old expressions. For instance, the saying “happy as a clam” is actually abbreviated. It’s really supposed to be “happy as a clam at high tide.” And now I know why.

Clamming is most certainly a low tide affair, which was at 6:30pm yesterday. Just 50 yards from our front porch, there’s a long sandy beach that was just perfect. Basically you look for air holes or squirts of water and then dig down six inches or so with a clamming rake (we brought a garden rake along and it worked just fine). We had a half dozen clams in less than 20 minutes and set our sites on dinner.

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To clean up the clams, you scrub the shells and then soak them in salt water with a bit of corn meal (the clams eat the corn meal, which helps rid them of sand). Another 30 minutes of prep and we were looking at the freshest of appetizers, clams casino.

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Clams casino is an old fashioned recipe (think 1970s dinner parties) that comes in a lot of variations, and there’s a reason it’s still around. We used shallots, red bell pepper, garlic, oregano, olive oil, and pancetta. It’s a bit of effort to shell the raw clams, but this is an excellent dish and in particular was good using a fresh catch. One taste of these and we were happy as clams (at low tide).


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