Being newcomers in any town can be difficult but especially challenging in an area where many have been there over countless generations. On the North Fork you will meet many locals with family histories going back as far as 1640; when Reverend Young’s came from England with his congregation. The legacies of the first settlers are very much alive and thriving in the area with names like Horton, Corwin, Tuthill, Wells, Hallock, Ackerly, and Corey to name a few. A bit later maritime families like the Claudio’s and the Fiedler’s along with many others began there generational legacies on the North Fork.
It was the son of the swordfishing dynasty, Richie Fiedler, a Greenport native, artist, outdoorsman and maritime expert, who welcomed us 20 years ago when we were strangers in Greenport. He brought us venison and geese from his hunting trips, showed us photos of him spearing swordfish on the walls of his gallery, Fiedler Gallery, and later invited us on his boat for a day of clamming on Hallock’s Bay.Richie Fiedler, with his kind, generous nature, extended his hand and made us feel welcomed. He selflessly shared his clam rakes, his beloved local waters and his family with us.
That day on the water we dug about two bushels of clams and all came back to the restaurant to open them. I made linguine and clam sauce using memories of recipe from a childhood neighbor and Richie loved it. We also made chowder and baked clams and enjoyed our local catch for day to come.
For the longest time, he asked me for the recipe and I never could find the time to write it out. Alas we lost him before I could ever get it to him and I really regret that.
This month is Richie’s birthday and he is on my mind. His love of the sea, his passion for the outdoors and his incredible generosity will always come the mind when I sit down in front of a plate of clams.
Here’s to you Richie. I will look for you in the sunrise at Hallock’s Bay.
Recipe for linguine and white clam sauce
1 (16 ounce) package dry linguini, Italian brand
1 small white onion, finely minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
A tablespoon of freshly chopped Italian or flat parsley
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
One cup of fresh minced clams with some juice (a great use of quahogs) or two dozen little neck clams in their shells
1/2 cup butter Organic or Irish Butter
Fresh ground black pepper
salt to taste
2 tablespoons dry white wine
Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil, add linguini.
Stir once or twice to make sure the noodles are not stuck together
Let linguini cook until al dente
Drain well and DO NOT RINSE and reserve one cup of pasta liquid
In a large skillet, saute the onion and garlic in olive oil until the onions are soft.
Stir in the wine along with a quarter cup of pasta water and simmer the mixture for 15 minutes, until the sauce has thickened and add the clams and parsley at the end. If using little neck clams, remove as soon as they open or they will be tough. If using fresh, chopped Quahogs or Cherry Stones, cook for a few minutes or they will also be tough.
Toss the clam sauce with the linguini and serve with a glass of local white.