Stuffed clams (hot)…
If you’re not in the mood for steamers the usual way (which would be: steamed!), or shucked clams ready to be breaded and deep fried for your own homemade fried clams, this an intensely satisfying way to prepare and enjoy them. I’ve tried this a couple of times on guests, and so far no complaints.
Great clammy aroma and taste!
I think what’s special about this recipe is that the clams aren’t steamed ahead of time; they cook in the oven. And there are a lot of them, so what you’ll be eating is 3/4 clam meats and 1/4 other stuff. They’ll be fragrant, and rich!
This recipe is for 10-12 stuffed clams, which will nicely serve four or five people as an app or side course.
You’ll need —
- 10-12 quahog (littleneck) shells, between 3″ to 4″ lengthwise
- about 1 1/2 pints shucked steamer clams, rinsed and drained
- about 2 tbsps. each of finely chopped bell pepper and green onion (scallions)
- chopped or canned hot jalapeno peppers – about 2 tsps.
- 1/4 finely chopped yellow onion, sauteed till golden in 1 tbsp. butter and a splash of white wine
- 1/2 small tomato, finely chopped
- 1 egg
- bread crumbs – about 1 cup
- 4-6 strips bacon, well-cooked then crumbled
- sprinklings of grated sharp cheddar (optional, but most people like a hint of cheese)
- seasonings to taste: pepper, garlic powder, red pepper
Mix the prepared veggies and the egg in a bowl until well blended. Now chop the rinsed shucked clams into smallish “pieces” (“pieces” makes no sense at all for the mess you’re going to make, but I don’t know an English word for a single unit of moosh) and rinse and drain well. Add bread crumbs, a little at a time, and stir in until the glop starts to firm up a bit, but isn’t too bready – I used about 1 cup.
Spoon out the viscous clammy goo-mix into the quahog shells – don’t be afraid to pile it up high! then add the crumbled bacon on top, and finally (if you want) shreds of sharp cheddar. Bake uncovered at 350 for about 40 minutes, but depending on how large your shells are it may take a little less, or more time.
Soft and clammy-redolent on the inside, a hint of crunch on the outside. Aces! And they freeze well, in case you make too many.
Scallop ceviche (cold)
Remember: Scallop rhymes with “dollop”
Now that we’re clear on that, some people aren’t quite sure what they’re eating when they have scallops. Mainers do, of course, but for my far-flung readers who may not know, you’re eating the large hinge muscle of the clam, specifically, the adductor muscle, which closes the shell after the scallop has “yapped” a few times underwater to propel him(her)self away from predators.
Ceviche (pron. sa-VEESH – ā) is a Spanish word for a dish of raw marinated fish, derived from an Arabic word meaning meat soaked in vinegar. The main idea is, you cook the fish without heat – in this case, via the citric acid in lemon juice. We had dozens of these last night with a group of friends and it all disappeared in a hurry (like the stuffed clams).
For about 10 people you’ll need:
- 2 lbs. scallops
- juice of 3 large lemons
- a handful of fresh cilantro
- 1/2 red onion, sliced and coarsely chopped
- black pepper to taste
Arrange the scallops in a largish baking dish or large pie plate, add the other ingredients, making sure all the meats are covered by the lemon juice, cover with foil or plastic wrap, and marinate in the fridge for at least 8 hours – a full day is better.
Serve them right in the baking dish, with two-prong forks, alongside the stuffed clams: Surf (hot) & Surf (cold)!
All kinds of other things are brewing: we’re going to look into area Backpack programs, where “food insecure” school kids get food for the weekend they otherwise might not have. Very cool program, and important! Also, my P.I. friend “Ryan Flaherty” is closing in on a serious “person of interest” in a missing persons mystery – more to come when there’s an indictment. Ryan’s doing it pro bono for the family of the missing (and presumed murdered) woman. And soon it will be time to head down to Jekyll Island, Georgia to visit The “Rah” Bar and sample their Low Country Boil. All we need is the best Andouille sausage ever made…
There it is…