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Sunday, May 5, 2013

Awesome Stuffed Quahogs

    Stuffed Quahogs--Okay hard shelled clams--but I want to introduce you to the proper name. For this particular recipe large clams are better-- I used cherry stone, chowder clams might just be too tough, but I am not exactly sure, but I rarely, if ever, use chowder clams anyway. Just find the largest cherry-stones you can. Soak them in cold water with about 2 tablespoons of cornmeal, changing the water and cornmeal at least 3 times in 24 hours. I also do not keep them longer than 24 hours, either. I buy the clams the day before I am going to use them, do the soaking w/cornmeal and rinse routine 3 times, then the last time I scrub the little beasties well. The cornmeal acts like sand, and the clams filter the sand or cornmeal out to cleanse themselves. Better to have cornmeal in there, than sand, as sand it not food,right? I guess that is the reasoning. Anyway, it works, the clams flush themselves out, and you end up with no sand or grit. Perfect.

    Boil 4 cups of water with the juice of half a lemon. Add the quahogs, cover and steam for 10-13 minutes until the clams open. I pluck them out as they open so not to overcook them. If after 15 minutes some clams do not open toss them, they are deader than a doornail and you will ruin your day if you attempt to open and eat them. Trust me.
    Set the clams aside to cool. Strain the clam broth into a clean vessel--whatever you want--you will be using some of this broth, but you can store (read freeze) the rest of it for a future use.
     Once the cooked clams are cool enough to handle remove the meats, including the muscle that sticks to the shell, and toss them into a food processor. You are going to pulse them a bit, but you want them chunky, not pasty. I have found, however, that with the larger clams you do need to make them on the smaller size otherwise they are a bit too chewy, which is normal for large clams.
   Dice up half a large Vidalia onion and sweat it in a mix of 50/50 olive oil and butter, when the onions begin to sweeten add 2 chorizo removed from their casings and cook until the chorizo is cooked through. Meanwhile put a 5 oz bag of flavored croutons in a separate bowl. add some of the reserved broth to soften the croutons. I'd say about 1-2 cups of liquid. Then add the clams and 6 oz of Harry and David™ Pepper and Onion relish (original) to the skillet and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons chopped parsley (okay, use the dried stuff if you must but only 1 tablespoon); the dampened croutons, 4 slices of diced potato bread, and toss until combined. Add enough dry bread crumbs to make the mix stiff. Scoop large portions into the reserved clam shells. Drizzle with melted butter and slip into a hot (400 degree) oven for about 15 minutes,  until the tops are nicely browned. OMG! 

    The ones I made today were slightly sweet, and yet had a kick from the chorizo and the pepper and onion relish. Harry and David™ have quite the line of pepper and onion relishes and I plan on trying each one of them. You can visit their website by clicking here. My men, liking things spicier than I do will probably add some hot sauce at the table--go right ahead, but these clams came out so awesome I cannot believe it! Both the Big E and #2 son said I can repeat that recipe ANY time I want! # 3  will be home in just under 2 weeks, and he loves stuffed clams so I think these will be making another appearance before very long.
     I have a few photos that I am patiently awaiting to arrive in my mailbox so I can get them posted. Some days technology just does not work well. Today seems to be one of those special days.
   Classes are over until Fall, so I am hoping to get caught up on my housework, and foray into the cooking experiments once again. Yay!
   Okay, it's time for some feedback, please. Have you tried any of my recipes, tips or shortcuts? Have I inspired you to cook anything unusual or out of your comfort zone? I'd love to hear about it. Maybe you can teach me something, too?   
    Til next time!

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