Prying Dining Tips From Jim Himes
Posted at 4:06 p.m. on March 31, 2014
While we here in the Mid-Atlantic were busy screaming on social media about the screwy weather (surprise snow/hail storm, anyone?), Rep. Jim Himes spent Sunday evening in a paradise of his own design: the kitchen.
The Connecticut Democrat spent the weekend doing something we only wish we could’ve done: harvesting clams and then baking them up.
“I go out and take oysters, clams and mussels every 2 weeks or so during late fall, winter and early spring. I particularly like to go out when there is a below average ebb tide because that exposes clamming grounds and oysters that are usually under water,” Himes told HOH via email.
Jim Himes)" src="http://hoh.rollcall.com/wp-content/uploads/JHclam-445x250.jpg" width="445" height="250" /> (Courtesy Jim Himes)
The seafood lover bills Long Island Sound and Greenwich Point Park, aka Tod’s Point, as his favorite digging grounds. And he credits local authorities with feeding his passion for fresh caught food.
“The former First Selectman of Greenwich, Dick Bergstresser and his wife Jean taught me most of what I know about shellfishing,” Himes shared.
He said the clams casino dish he plugged online is based on a recipe culled from the gratis cookbook the town shellfish commission distributes with every permit. But Himes said he enjoys bivalves all kinds of different ways.
“I make a wicked clam chowdah, and linguine with clam sauce. Oysters I like to eat raw and mussels in either a white wine sauce or in beer with paprika,” he said, adding that he’ll happily toss back raw clams with just a splash of Tabasco.
When he’s not busy teasing aides with tastes from home — “I have brought back and served oysters on the half shell to staff, but the cooking is all done in Connecticut,” he said — Himes enjoys sampling D.C.’s take on seafood.
His current go-to: “Just about any oyster dish at Pearl Dive.”
And while he remains committed to the bounty plucked from hometown waterways, Himes has learned to appreciate other regional spoils.
“New England oysters are better than Chesapeake. But Chesapeake blue crabs are unbeatable,” Himes said.
Meanwhile, all the clamming chatter made at least one political observer, a Connecticut-based radio reporter, hungry for additional Northeastern food/fashion news.