Clams in Nettle Cream Sauce

Nettle Clams

Ashley Rodriguez is a Seattle-based award-winning food writer and photographer. She is the author of three cookbooks: Date Night In, Let’s Stay In, and Rooted Kitchen. She is the host and co-creator of the James Beard nominated series, Kitchen Unnecessary. Ashley is a graduate of Seminary of the Wild through the Center for Wild Spirituality and a certified Nature and Forest Therapy guide. When not eating, or talking and writing about food you can find her foraging, fly fishing, feeding her sourdough starter and spending as much time outside as possible. She believes the outdoors is a place to be fed both physically and spiritually.

Ashley smelling fungus

Artist and author Sarah Simon, a.k.a. @themintgardener, has taught thousands of people how to watercolor and with her teaching talents, has made it such an approachable and enjoyable art form, both for the experienced and novice alike. Her book Watercolor Workbook provides everything you need to know about the art of watercolor and has been the #1 best-selling watercolor book in the world for the past three years! And now, in this NEW workbook, Sarah offers 25 MORE watercolor projects that you can sit down and enjoy painting today.

Ashley and Sarah, much like the Filson brand, are true ambassadors of the Pacific Northwest spirit. With roots deep in the region, they have been shaped by its stunning landscapes and have forged a profound connection with nature. This shared bond led to a friendship that has spanned over a decade, with each of them cheering on the other’s creative pursuits.

The day Sarah decided to rekindle her passion for painting marked a turning point in their lives, as Ashley watched her friend embark on a journey of rediscovery. Together, they have challenged conventions and redefined what it means to be nature-loving creative women, inspiring others to embrace their unique paths.

As artists, they both find inspiration in the natural world, but express it through different mediums – one through food, the other through paint. United by their love for the outdoors and their commitment to authenticity, they see a perfect harmony between their values and the Filson brand. For them, Filson is not just an outdoor lifestyle brand; it’s a partner in their mission to celebrate the beauty of the Pacific Northwest and redefine the boundaries of creative expression.

winter fishing archival
winter fishing art
“Live in each season as it passes: breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each.”
Henry David Thoreau

The changing seasons don’t happen in an instant, no matter what our calendars tell us. It’s a steady marching on of days with gentle shifts and transitions, and spring is perhaps the most subtle season of all. It’s the soft awakening of a deep slumber, where warmth and light are the gentle alarm that lets you know the season has begun.

First the earth warms enough for tender greens to emerge. Rising from dormancy, they’re ready to create new life. The full moon in March (which some refer to as the last full winter moon, while others name her spring’s) is sometimes simply called the worm moon. Her bright beam calls to the sleeping worms to wake up and get to work mending the soil.

Spring offers gentle flavors to get us ready for the faster pace of the coming summer season. But it’s not just a time of transition. Every year, even though we know it will be happening, the daily changes in the world feel like miracles. Trees steadily march into bloom, young greens poke their heads out of the ground, and our hens start laying again. In the kitchen, these tender greens find their way into most of our meals, fragrant leafy herbs like chives, dill, and mint awaken the palate, and the first forage of the season fills our baskets with nutrient-dense nettles.

Clams in Nettle Cream Sauce

Serves 4 

Growing up in the Pacific Northwest I feel it’s almost my duty to love seafood but I have to admit it’s taken me well into adulthood to appreciate how good we have it here. In fact, I’ll be honest and say this dish is the first that I’ve had that has truly made me appreciate and enjoy clams. 

It helps that the clams are bathed in the perfect hue of this season with this verdant sauce. It also helps that this sauce is filled with cream. 


  • 1 cup nettle purée*
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 cup heavy cream (or coconut milk)
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup water 
  • 4 pounds clams
  • Good sourdough for serving


In the bowl of a blender add the nettle purée, garlic, salt, cream, chili flakes, nutmeg and water. Blend until completely smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and blend again. 

Add this to a large pot with a lid and bring to a simmer. Pour in the clams, give it all a good stir to coat the clams in the sauce then cover the pot with the lid.

Cook just until the clams pop open, about 5 to 7 minutes.

Serve with plenty of bread for soaking up all of that sauce. 


Nettle Purée


This nettle purée lends itself beautifully to the homemade orecchiette, turning the pasta a beautiful shade of green and infusing it with vitamins and nutrients. 

Nettles are best picked when they are young and tender, most commonly found in early spring. Snip the top couple of sets of small leaves off the plants while they are still just 6 to 8 inches off the ground. If picked young like this, the stems are still tender enough to use in the purée. If picking later in the season, just use the leaves.

Be sure to wear gloves and long sleeves when harvesting and han- dling fresh nettles, since the sting can be quite painful.

6 cups fresh nettles, packed (see Note)


Kitchen Note

I leave salt out of the boiling water because I like to drink the water the nettles have boiled in as a tea.

Set up a large bowl of ice and water. Bring a large pot of water (see Note) to a boil.

Blanch the nettles for 1 minute, then scoop them out of the water using a sieve or tongs and immediately shock them in the ice water.

Squeeze out most of the water and transfer to a food processor or blender. Process until minced. You’ll need to stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula a few times to get an even consistency in the purée.

Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week or freeze for at least 6 months.

From Rooted Kitchen