Turbulent Sea or Angry Ocean; the Nor’easter off of Martha’s Vineyard.
Steamed Littleneck clams w/ Chorizo from Neptune Oyster in Boston, MA. From Chef Michael Serpa.
The Historic Old Oak tree is one of the oldest trees on Martha’s Vineyard.
(Above) Oysterman and owner of Sweet Neck Farm, Jack Blake. He runs Sweet Neck Farm with his wife Sue Blake.
(Below) Sweet Neck Farm Oysters after being cleaned of their barnacle growth. The oysters are put in a cylindrical cage and then turned to chip away the small amount of the newest growth to the shell. Somewhat like pruning trees, this process helps promote healthy shell growth, and stylize a ideal cup shape. These oyster shells are then put back in their cages, and dropped back into the ocean to continue to grow long after the process.
Justin Walker, photographer, and contributor to my blog, is a beautiful fine art photographer, but he’s not slouch in the commercial arena either, having just completed the wildly successful seamless.com food campaign.
Here, he writes about his recent trip to Maine.
They call Jack Blake “The Godfather” in Martha’s Vineyard. Fifteen years ago he brought some of the first oysters to Katama Bay, and has since perfected and helped revolutionize one of the newest industries on the sea: farming. Though an oyster needs an estuary to reproduce naturally, they can be grown from seeds on small farms off-shore. “People call all the time trying to sell me farm equipment, and such,” says Jack, “…its not what most people are used to calling a farm.”
Jack Blake’s Sweet Neck Farm produces such a high quality of product that it rarely leaves the island of Martha’s Vineyard, with the exception of some of the finest oyster bars up the East Coast. Neptune Oyster in Boston, MA is one of those establishments where Chef Michael Serpa serves up Katama Bay’s best. Neptune Oyster works closely with many seafood producers and sources Striped Bass , Monk Fish and Littleneck clams, almost entirely on a local level.
STEAMED LITTLENECK CLAMS WITH CHORIZO
This recipe is courtesy of Chef Michael Serpa at Neptune Oyster in Boston, MA. The recipe is really simple, and minus the garlic paste, it takes just 5 minutes to make.
12 littleneck or countneck clams
( 2 inches across)
Sliced hot Spanish chorizo, about 12 thin slices
1 TB Roasted garlic purée
(slow roast garlic cloves in a little bit of oil for about 3 hours in a 325 degree oven, then when browned and tender, purée with the oil)
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup clam stock or water
Pinch of parsley in julienne
In a sauté pan, add chorizo and butter, when the chorizo starts to release oils and toast a bit, add garlic purée, cook for about 15 to 20 seconds then add clams, wine, and stock. Cover. As the clams open take them out. When all clams are done, add parsley. Pour broth on top. Eat, preferably with bread.
JUSTIN WALKER: is a commercial and fine-art photographer based in Brooklyn, NY. He specializes in food, travel, and still-life photography. A native to Durango, Colorado, he grew up camping, rock climbing, snowboarding, and spending most waking hours outside. His childhood always involved some family adventure in the making; from commercial salmon and halibut fishing in Alaska, to ranching and hunting in southwestern Colorado. A background in graphic design, his work encompasses the same clean cut, graphic aesthetic that is typical of his photographic style. Check out his website here.
CHEF MICHAEL SERPA: Was born in Reading, PA into a family of Cuban chefs. He started young (12 years old) at his dad’s restaurant in Miami in the Summers. He has been at the restaurant Neptune Oyster the last 4 1/2 as Executive Chef, which is a tiny 37 seat French Bistro that mated with a New England Clam Shack. His favorite dishes to eat are simple things like oysters, whole fish, classic steak tartare, frisée aux lardons, and roasted duck. He loves Colombian food (his wife is Colombian), as well as Chilled Spicy pigs ears and anything with broth in Chinatown. He likes to cook striped bass when he has it on the menu, it cooks so well in a heavy black steel pan. Check out Neptune Oyster here.