It’s Quahog Week across Rhode Island, now in its fourth year, and growing!
Hard shell clams, also known as quahogs, pulled from the muddy bottoms of mostly New England subtidal and intertidal waters, are a Rhode Island staple, traced back to indigenous times, some 12,000 years.
Eight marketplaces and 32 restaurants in Rhode Island are participating in this year’s 4th annual Quahog Week, with specials.
The business of quahogging in the Ocean State employs hundreds, pumping millions into the local economy.
“Our quahog fishery is unique in the sense that it’s thriving and sustainable on a regular basis throughout the year,” says Bob Ballou, the Assistant to the Director at the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management.
And it’s a healthy seafood too. The meat is the last ‘wild’ food in modern times, a lean protein with lots of minerals and vitamins, in its own flavorful slurry, called its ‘liquor’, raw or cooked.
Max Peterson, the Executive Chef at Hemmenway’s in Providence, says “When you cook quahogs and they open up, and all that liquor comes out, that really gives it that umami flavor, where it’s almost like that fifth flavor.”
Speaking of Hemenway’s in Providence, their special this week is on “stuffies”. And don’t forget the clear Rhode Island clam chowder too.
This Friday night from 5 ’til 8 p.m. at Hope and Main in Warren, Rhode Island Shellfishermen are shucking free little necks for your taste buds, and telling you the difference between those, top necks, and cherrystones.
Now get this: 22 million quahogs are harvested from Narragansett Bay every year.
“It’s the most economically valuable resource harvested from Narragansett Bay,” adds Ballou. “And when you compare it with all the other Rhode Island Marine Fishery resources, it’s the fourth most economically important resource behind scallops, squid, and lobster.”