“Oh, bar clams are so good. You could eat them right out of the jar!”—Vincent Theriault
This past summer, our family spent two weeks visiting the Canadian province of New Brunswick. It was a third visit, but our first time staying just outside the mostly French speaking community of Petit -Rocher. The house in which we stayed, found on Air BnB, was beautifully situated on the Bay of Chaleur.
It has been our experience that the maritime provinces of Canada possess some of the warmest, most friendly people. This summer’s trip was not an exception. The neighbors to the right and left of our house were often visitors to our evening campfires, and we welcomed them with delight. In fact, by our last night, we were hanging out at one neighbor’s campfire, the Roy family.
The Roy family welcomed us into the neighborhood on the first sunny day. (We arrived in the midst of a rainy cold front; and thus, the first couple of days were wet, cool, and not suitable for building a fire.) Bobby Roy was the first to introduce himself, soon followed by his son Denis. As the weeks progressed, we met more members of this gregarious and outgoing family. They were great neighbors, and we now treasure fond memories of our time spent together in this picturesque setting.
Denis and his father, Bobby, were frequent evening visitors!
In fact, the Roy family was so generous, by the end of our first week; they had presented our family with an official Canadian flag that we flew proudly while staying there. John, my husband, was bestowed with a stylish Canadian ball cap. Furthermore, we were also given a jar of a New Brunswick delicacy, bar clams. Both Denis and Bobby stated the bar clams would make great chowder. I proudly took these into the vacation home in which we were staying; set the jar on the counter with the full intention of eating them while we were there.
On previous trips, we stayed in Janeville, NB, also on the idyllic Bay of Chaleur. During our first trip there, we made friends with another family, the Theriaults, Vincent, Gisele, and their dog, Bijou. On this last trip, however, we were located about 40 minutes north of them. Wonderfully, though, we were able to get together with them a couple of times during this same visit.
It was during a dinner visit with Vincent and Gisele, that they happened to notice the jar of bar clams on the kitchen counter. They both shared with us how tasty the clams were. In fact, they stated that the clams could be enjoyed as a delicious meal straight out of the jar! Simply add a salad and a loaf of crusty, buttery bread; and, boom, dinner is served.
Ultimately, the clams came home with us still uneaten. John researched alternate ways to prepare these clams in addition to the methods described by the Roy’s and Theriault’s. He landed upon an idea—pasta.
Hmm . . .I liked that idea, but I would have to choose the pasta carefully because it must be gluten free due to my celiac disease; and trust me, not every gluten free pasta is tasty. However, I had recently tried one called POW, made out of mostly green lentils, that John even found appetizing. Therefore, I began brainstorming.
I could make the sauce completely from scratch. However, given the limited time during the workweek, I opted for a shortcut instead, and came up with plan after a visit to my favorite grocery store, Route 60 Kroger. I perused their aisle and purchased the following items: spaghetti squash (What’s not to love about this vegetable?), POW pasta, one jar of Classico brand Riserva Alfredo sauce, a can of Bumble Bee brand Red Clam Sauce, a bag of frozen peas, and a can of mushrooms (although any fresh variation of mushrooms would nice) as well as a can of fancy white crab meat (for an increase protein), and finally, a wedge of parmesan cheese.
Ingredients gathered for Bar Clam pasta with an appetizer of cheese and prosciutto!
Later that week, John and feasted on scrumptious bar clam pasta! The first night, I served my sauce over spaghetti squash only, while John ate the pasta. The next night, however, I combined the left over pasta and squash into a large casserole dish, poured the sauce over it, and topped it off with a bit of shredded cheese. This turned into a flavorsome casserole, which fed the two of us two more nights!
First night’s meal.
In fact, we loved this dish so much, that I have already purchased the ingredients to make it again—only we will have to settled for canned clams, instead of the fresh New Brunswick clams. Hopefully, it will still be a just as tasty!
Thank you, Roy family, for generosity and hospitality as well as introducing us to a new food! Thank you, Vincent and Gisele, for your generous encouragement! While we did not have crusty bread, we did serve this wonderful meal with a simple salad, and savored pleasant thoughts of the wonderful people are fortunate enough to call friends from New Brunswick!
Bar Clam Pasta
1 spaghetti squash
1 box Ancient Harvest brand POW! Pasta (or your favorite brand/type pasta)
1 15 ounce jar of Classico brand Riserva Alfredo sauce
1 15 ounce can of Bumble Bee brand Tuscan style Read Clam Sauce
1 jar/can of bar clams or baby clams (size will vary depending upon how much you want, and brand you use)
1 6 ounce can fancy white crab mean
1 cup frozen green peas–optional
1 can or package of mushrooms—optional
Red pepper seeds, if desired
Preheat oven 375 degrees.
Coat long casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.
Cut spaghetti squash lengthwise and remove seeds.
Place squash halves flesh side down in pan.
Bake 45 minutes or until flesh is tender and easily pricked with a fork.
Cook pasta according to package directions.
In large saucepan, combine both Alfredo sauce and clam sauce.
(I also add half-cup water, or milk, to the emptied Alfredo sauce and shake to fully get all sauce, but it is not necessary.)
Warm gently to a slightly bubbly stage.
Gently stir in crab, clams, peas, and mushrooms (if using)—do not boil—rather return to slightly bubbly stage for a few minutes.
Stir in ¼ cup shaved Parmesan cheese if desired to thicken sauce.
Cover and turn off sauce.
Once squash is baked, remove from oven.
With hot pads, flip squash over, flesh face up, and allow to cool.
Once cooled enough to handle, use large spoon to scoop out flesh into dish.
Separate flesh with fork and season with olive oil and sea salt if desired.
Ladle sauce over desired pasta, squash, or a combination of both.
Top with additional Parmesan and/or red pepper seeds.
When cleaning up after dinner, place left over pasta over top of squash and fold together.
Pour remaining sauce over the combined pasta and squash.
Top with desire amount shredded cheese, if desired.
Spray dull-side of foil with nonstick cooking spray. Then, place coated side of foil face down to cover pasta dish.
It will be ready to bake the next night in a preheated 350-degree oven covered for 20 minutes.
Remove foil and bake an additional 10 minutes, or until cheese is golden and sauce is bubbly.