As I said in my first post “The Experiment Begins”, I spent summers on the Cape during college and graduate school and worked at a restaurant called The Mooring. Those were fun times and I met some great friends, many of whom I am still in touch with to this day. It was during these years that my cooking skills began to develop. The Mooring menu included a dish called “Clam Soup”, which was a particular favorite of my father’s. Distinctly not chowder, which is cream based, the soup was more akin to a red sauce, but without the pasta and was served with a large chunk of garlic toast to soak up the juices. As I watched the cooks preparing the dish, I thought I could probably replicate it at home, so I took a stab at it. It might not have been perfect the first time, but all in all it was successful and and over the years I have tweaked it and over 30 years later it continues to be a favorite.

After making Clam Spaghetti with littlenecks from the local fish market, I was convinced that the ones from Island Creek Oysters were less salty, so I ordered up 100 of them with my weekly oyster order. We invited my parents over for oysters and clams, and I made a focaccia (actually 2, as I was bringing one to friends along with some oysters on Saturday). A Caesar Salad rounded out a light, delicious and satisfying meal. I think the proof is in the “Clean Plate Club”.

I’m not sure if they liked it??


This is my version of the "soup" that was on the menu of The Mooring restaurant that was the first dish I ever attempted to replicate at home. It is super easy and makes for a great light meal along with a salad and, of course, focaccia for soaking up the tasty broth. Serve 6 clams apiece for a delicious starter.
Course Soup
Cuisine Seafood
Servings 4 as a main course or 8 as an appetizer


  • 1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Medium Onion, finely chopped 1 cup
  • 2 TBSP Garlic, minced 4 large cloves
  • 1 1/2 tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 1/2 tsp Basil dried
  • 1 1/2 tsp Oregano dried
  • 1 1/2 Cups White Wine
  • 1 Can Chopped Tomatoes & Juices
  • 48 Littleneck Clams about 4 pounds
  • 1/4 Cup Chopped Flat Parsley 1/2 bunch
  • 1/2 tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper


  • Sweat the onion in the olive oil over medium heat until translucent, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the garlic, pepper flakes, basil and oregano and cook for one minute, stirring constantly, until the garlic is fragrant but doesn't brown.
  • Add the clams and white wine, cover and increase the heat to high to bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium and allow to cook for 3-4 minutes until the clams just start to open.
  • Add the tomatoes and their juice, 2 TBSP of the parsley, the pepper and stir to incorporate. Replace the cover and cook for another 2-3 minutes until the clams have fully opened.
  • Place 12 clams in soup/pasta bowls and ladle the "soup" over. Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately with Rosemary Focaccia for dunking and a salad.


  • Soak the clams in cold water for 15-30 minutes before cooking to allow them to release any sand.
  • I don’t add salt, as I think the clams are naturally salty enough.
  • Make sure to serve immediately after the clams have fully opened, as the clams will become rubbery if left to cook longer.  
  • Discard any clams that don’t open.
  • Add more or less crushed pepper flakes depending on your palate for spice.
Keyword Clam Soup, Clams, Littlenecks

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