Whenever I handle the ingredients I am planning to use for my next meal, I cannot help think that there is a part of us that is still back in the Stone Age. Fact is, as much as I love quality ingredients, there is nothing that compares to the joy of using ingredients that you have grown, caught or prepared from scratch yourself.
I definitely have quite a bit of that old hunter-gatherer ancestor in me. My balcony is hardly a place where you can sit out and enjoy the summer sun: too many herbs and potted plants (quite a few used for cooking) there screening you from those precious rays. Likewise, when I walk into a wood I try as hard as I can to just enjoy the landscape, yet inevitably I find myself looking for mushrooms, berries and wild herbs. At the seaside, I look for molluscs, which, on the shores of Lazio, means telline.
Telline (Donax trunculus), also called arselle in Italian and wedge shells in English, are small triangular clams that live in the sand banks close to the shore. Commercially, these are fished by boats carrying nets that drag through kilometres of the superficial layer of the sand banks, something that, to my eyes, is pretty damaging from the ecological point of view. Yet the real way to collect – and earn – a well deserved dish of telline is fishing them yourself.