Host Pete Evans drops in on the bucolic New England seaside town of Westport, Massachusetts, whose harbor boasts some of the best quahogs in the country. Here Pete is joined by legendary Massachusetts grill master and chef Chris Schlesinger, along with his friend and cookbook coauthor John “Doc” Willoughby. The duo takes Pete on his first quahogging adventure, gathering up the Atlantic hard clams for the evening’s feast. As the sun sets, the grill gets fired up, and a meal takes shape: grilled littlenecks “Johnson,” grilled bluefish with smoky chouriço relish, grilled sweet potatoes with molasses glaze, and baby greens with Shy Brothers cheese. And wines from local Westport Rivers Winery are poured. In the hands of three talented chefs, the culinary treasures collected in this seaside community come together in a hearty, harmonious feast for the senses.
A Word from Pete…
My two new favorite friends are Chris Schlesinger and Doc Willoughby; they definitely have an appreciation for the simple things in life, which resonated with me.
Great fresh ingredients, not doing too much to it, and a gorgeous setting with friends and family is what this episode is all about. We had an awesome day, starting with the memorable Massachusetts tradition of quahogging, which is wading in the shallows and either wiggling your feet or using a rake to find delicious clams lurking just a few inches under the surface of the sand. I can’t wait to bring the kids back to try it themselves. Who needs Disneyland or an iPad when you have a rake and clams? And, Chris and Doc brought their trusty Labradors to add to the memories.
Next, we had a visit to the local vineyard that specializes in sparkling wine; this was a real eye opener since I didn’t realize the area is known for its wines. But I must say, it was top notch.
Back at Chris’s humble beach pad, we got the fire going and threw the clams and fish on the grill. We didn’t do too much at all to make them shine—a simple black pepper sauce and smoked paprika butter, and we had clams two ways. The fish was paired with some wonderful salads, and the sparkling wine was popped. We dined as the sun set!
Chefs & Artisans from this Episode
Pipis are to Australia what littleneck clams are to the U.S. East Coast. So go ahead and use littlenecks. To say this recipe is for lovers of pepper (both black…
Molasses and orange juice are a deep-bright blend that, with a touch of allspice, brings a more complex flavor to sweet potatoes.
A simple combination of ingredients lets the littleneck clams (or quahogs, as they’re called in Westport, MA) shine. Schlesinger attributes the recipe to his friend chef Steve Johnson (of Boston…
A salute to coastal Massachusetts’ vibrant Portuguese community, chef Schlesinger’s bluefish incorporates fresh Portuguese chouriço, which is as spicy as the Mexican chorizo, but less crumbly.