When I was little I remember spending some of my summer holidays in Viareggio along the coast of Versilia. I would swim and play but when I was tired (and my parents were just as tired) I was given a time consuming chore that kept me good and gave me a culinary goal; digging in the sand and finding arselle or telline! Arselle, telline or zighe are tiny clams found in some areas of coastal Tuscany, they are small but have a distinct flavor and if you're patient enough to collect quite a few the resulting recipe will be unforgettable.
- 3 pounds of arselle (tiny clams)
- 5/6 mature tomatoes
- 2 garlic clove
- 1handful of parsley
- ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and chilli
- Purge the clams in a bowl full of clean sea water for about 4 hours.
- Sauté finely minced garlic together with chilli in a large pan.
- Add sliced tomatoes. Let it go medium fire for about 10 minutes, stirring now and then.
- Add the arselle, cover the pan with a lid. Wait till they are all open.* Sprinkle with chopped parsley. Salt if needed.
- Serve hot on toasted Tuscan bread or use them as spaghetti sauce. You’ll love them!
Tip * Now the best thing to do at this point is pull out the clam from the shell, however, this is a long process - you will need lots of patience. The result is however better because you can eat your pasta or crostone without having to take shells away while you're eating.