Clams in Sherry and Cream Sauce from Chucks Seafood Grotto

Other than why?, a familiar question I am often asked when cycle touring is how do you afford it? We all know eating out and travel isn’t cheap but spending a few years of savings, getting a book deal, selling photos and getting some kind equipment sponsorship have all made my trips possible. However it is the kindness of strangers and restaurant owners along the way that have allowed me to eat like a king on a cyclist’s budget. 

But there is no such thing as a free lunch and it doesn’'t always work and many restaurateurs, quite rightly, see no reason in giving a dirty Englishman on a bicycle a free meal. But when it dioes happen it is a joy and we all know that free food just tastes better. One of my happiest '“comped' meals” came at Chucks Seafood Grotto in Snohomish, Washington. 

Staying with the Newbold family in Seatle I had been promised that Chuck’s was not a restaurant to be missed but arriving a little late on a Sunday evening we were disappointed to find he was closed. Almost admitting defeat I decided on one last effort and went in to berate Chuck.
Chuck was a giant. At least seven feet tall and sporting a distinctive mullet haircut, only fitting of a man who owns a seafood restaurant, I shly explained our predicament while expecting to be removed from his restaurant with force. After hearing my spiel, Chuck gave me a wry smile and explained that he would look after me and look after me he did. 

A dozen oysters on the half shell, Cajun razor clams, scallops with garlic, Chilean sea bass and his famed garlic prawns were all superb but a bowl of steamer clams left us all in a state of gastronomic delirium. If this meal had been served while sitting outside enjoying a Washington summers day with a crisp bottle of local wine I would have been able to go home.
Chuck if you are reading this you have set the bench mark for the perfect meal and I thank you and hope this recipe comes close to your magic.

1. First up wash your clams with cold water and leave to drain. 

2. In a casserole, over medium heat, melt butter and sweat the onion and garlic in melted butter for 5 minutes. 

3. With a wooden spoon, stir in flour and cook for a further 2 minutes. 

4. Now add your clams making sure not to add too many clams to the pan at once. 

5. Slowly pour in the dry sherry and cook off the alcohol while continuing to stir. 

6. The steam will open up the clams releasing that wonderful natural clam juice. 

7. Lower the heat to a simmer and pour in the cream while still stirring. 

8. Add a pinch of smoked Paprika and season with salt and pepper. 

9. Sprinkle with some chopped parsley and prepare to be blown away.

Chcuks seafood grotto

Seafood grotto


This entry was posted on Tuesday, June 16th, 2009 at 09:51 and is filed under American Recipes. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed or trackback from your own site. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


  1. Learn to labour and to wait.

  2. Travel recipes

    I found your blog only today and I thought I would start my comment right from here. Your blog is really good and informative.Keep updating us with all such nice contents. Glad to visit ur blog..

  3. glad you enjoyed it – its fun keeping the posts coming. more food videos, recipes, photography from all over the world coming soon!
    Tom Kevill-Davies 
    The Hungry Cyclist – Pedalling The World For The Perfect Meal
    t. 0789 621 5282

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