The Perfect Clam for Your Pasta Sauce

When Atlantic surf clams, the mollusks with the big white shells you see empty on the beaches from Cape Hatteras, N.C., to Canada, are very small, no more than two inches across, they’re called butter clams or petite surf clams. They’re being farmed in Maine and on Cape Cod. Smaller and more tender than littlenecks, they are the ideal clam for spaghetti or linguine alle vongole, pasta with clam sauce. Now the Lobster Place in Chelsea Market has started to get shipments of these sweet little clams. The market expects to have them on a regular basis starting this week, but Brendan Hayes, the president, said they rely on an oyster supplier in Maine, and should have a delivery every week through Labor Day. They’re worth seeking out.

Maine Butter Clams, $19.95 a pound (about 40 clams), The Lobster Place, Chelsea Market, 75 Ninth Avenue, 212-255-5672,

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