Remove and discard the soft black part of the clam connected to the body. Chop the clam bodies in half. Reserve chopped clams and juice separately in the refrigerator.
Heat garlic and olive oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Cook garlic until blond (not browned) and fragrant, then remove pan from heat. Remove garlic from oil to prevent further cooking and set aside.
Bring 5 quarts water and the sea salt to a boil. Add pasta to boiling water and move gently with a fork to prevent sticking. Cook until just underdone, about 2 minutes; strain. (Note: If using dry linguine, cook until just al dente, no more.)
Working quickly while the pasta is cooking, add reserved clam juice to skillet and bring to a simmer. Add reserved garlic and black pepper. Add strained pasta and shucked, chopped clams to the simmering clam juice and olive oil for 1 minute, tossing until most of the liquid is absorbed.
Divide pasta among four warm shallow pasta bowls. Garnish with parsley. (Dissuade your guests from adding cheese! This dish doesn’t need it.) Serve immediately.
Serves 4 as a main course.
Recipe by Matthew MacCartney, Executive Chef, Jamestown Fish