​Recipe: Cat's Ear Clam Linguine by Melany Vorass


This post is part of our Fall Blog Blitz! For the next few weeks, we’ll be bringing you special posts in support of our Slow Food Fall Membership Campaign. Come back often for more recipes, photos, tips, and resources as we celebrate Slow Food in all its forms!

Slow Food membership supports sustainable food production, teaching children how to grow food, preserving traditional foods, and celebrating food cultures. Together we are linking the pleasure of good food with a commitment to local communities and the environment.  There is a place for you at our table here in our local Seattle chapter. Join now


We recently posted a Dandelion Bourekas recipe from Slow Food pal Melany Vorass. As noted in that post, we enjoyed a wild food walk with her this past spring. Melany showed us the impressive diversity of wild edibles in a small area at Golden Gardens Park. She's a great inspiration and source of knowledge for those who are interested in doing more urban foraging. See photos from the day here.

Melany has shared another recipe with us, this one for cat's ear, a wild green that, like dandelions, can also be harvested in the fall. (As always, please be sure you know your plant well before dining on any wild edible.)

Want to learn more? Check out Melany's classes with Seattle Tilth! Her fall 2014 ID class is full but her cooking class still has spots!

And if you'd like more cooking tips on another wild food favorite - mushrooms - check out our November 3 mushroom event with Becky Selengut and Langdon Cook.


Cat's Ear Clam Linguine

Serves 4

From The Front Yard Forager by Melany Vorass

I've made this linguine with many of the plants described in this book, but I think cat's ear works the best the leaves retain their hearty texture even after they're boiled, so they do not disappear into the mixture as some other greens do. And because they're so mildly flavored, they easily absorb the clam, wine, and butter flavors, adding a very healthy green to a classic dish.

  • 1 pound linguine

  • 1/4 cup butter

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 shallots, coarsely chopped

  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

  • 3 tablespoons good salami, diced

  • 2 pounds small fresh clams, scrubbed

  • 2/3 cup dry white wine

  • 2 cups cat's ear leaves, chopped to 1-inch pieces

  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Cook the linguine in boiling water until it's al dente and set aside.

While the pasta is cooking, in a large skillet over medium heat, saute in butter the garlic, shallots, red pepper flakes, and salami until shallots are softened. Add clams and wine and bring to a simmer. Cover the pan and simmer until the clams open, about 5 minutes. Add the cat's ear and al dente pasta. Cook on medium heat until the pasta has absorbed almost all the remaining liquid. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.