Monday, December 30, 2013

No Picture, So It Didn't Happen

Actually a picture wouldn't really have added much, other than, ironically, filler.

We had gone to the 99 (right by where I work) after seeing The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and I ordered a seafood sampler which included one stuffed clam.

The thing about stuffed clams is that I have never eaten one that was home made--most were the ones you get at the grocery, ready-made and frozen. You put them into the oven and like them but feel like they could be a lot better.

I decided to try and make them because I wanted to see how good they could be and the large clams used (quahogs) are a much better deal than the small ones that you might use for linguine sauce.

The ones I made were the best I've ever had, so here is how I made them:

I started with about 10 large hard clams (around 4 lbs total) I soaked them in a bowl, with many water changes for about 6 hours. This was to get rid of any grit that might be contained in them.

While steaming them in a covered pot, I browned a medium yellow onion and a similar volume of finely chopped celery (inner leafy part) along with a couple cloves of garlic in lots of butter and olive oil. The usual clan of herbs were added: Fresh parsley, bay leaf, black pepper, sage, oregano and I could have added paprika but forgot it. Into this I crushed about one sleeve of Ritz crackers.

If the above seems familiar, it should: It is essentially the same stuffing used for any seafood. I minced-up the clam meats, which had finished opening up by then and added that, along with fresh lemon juice to the stuffing and packed all of this into a dozen of the half shells.

These were arranged into the same skillet I had done the browning in and I added a tablespoon of the clam water from steaming to each shell as well as a bit to the pan to avoid scorching. This was put into a 350F oven for about 20 minutes, till the tops started to brown.

They were, as my wife put it, "guest worthy".

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