Tag Archives: clams

Steamed clams quickie

16 Mar

Lately I’ve taken some crap over not posting here very much. Truth is, there hasn’t been a lot of cooking going on around the house all winter. I won’t bore you with the details. Just know that I’m a lot less happy about it than you are. And am looking very much forward to a shift in direction very soon.

Anyhow, I’ll assume that a quickie communication trumps none at all, and so here’s a super fast steamed clams dish to ponder when next you’re at the fish store.

This is three dozen mahogany clams but any kind of hard shell clam will do. Scrub the shells and rinse in cold water.

In a pot large enough to hold all the clams saute a leek, four or five garlic cloves and some hot pepper in olive oil for a couple of minutes.

Add a cup of dry white wine (I just used dry vermouth here) and a few sprigs of fresh thyme and bring to a boil.

Add the clams and cover with a lid so that they can steam. When the clams have popped open they’re done. Some will open sooner than others and you can remove them to a serving bowl as they’re ready. The clams that don’t open should be tossed.

All that’s left to do now is pour the liquid over the clams in a serving bowl and have at ’em.

I told you this was gonna be a quickie, didn’t I?

Clams & chorizo

1 Jun

These clams were a big hit the other night. They were fresh and tender and super sweet, pretty much the perfect appetizer for four people to share.

If you’re like me, though, a dish like this is really about only one thing: dunking bread in the broth. So make certain to have plenty of the crusty stuff on hand should you decide to give this a go.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Saute a large onion, 6 garlic cloves, two celery stalks and some hot pepper in olive oil until softened. I used a very large black iron pan here, but any pan that’s oven-safe will do.

Add around a quarter pound of diced chorizo. I used cooked Spanish chorizo here.

Add some fresh herbs (thyme and marjoram here), freshly ground black pepper and a quart of stock. I used some of the homemade shrimp stock I had in the freezer but any light stock will be fine. Turn the heat up to high.

Let the stock reduce by around half.

While the stock is reducing clean your clams thoroughly to get rid of any sand or grit. I used three dozen medium-sized clams here.

Add the clams to the pan and place into the oven uncovered. I used the outdoor wood oven this time, as it was fired up to cook several other things that evening.

As soon as all the clams have opened, which shouldn’t take more than a few minutes, you’re ready to go. Either set the hot pan out where people can scoop out their clams or go the safer route and transfer to a large serving bowl.

Either way the clams will wind up in a few individual bowls like this one. We were four people on this night and so we each got eight clams as an appetizer.

Oh yeah, there wasn’t any bread leftover either.

Clams with sausage & beans

19 Apr

Some friends were returning from a luxurious island holiday recently. As their plane would arrive home on the lateish side I decided to be a nice guy and leave something in their fridge for when they got back. Why I did this I am not entirely certain. I had offered — on numerous occasions — to accompany them on their weeklong getaway, pointing out my not insignificant skills as a valet. To no avail. What made me decide on this particular dish I haven’t a clue either. I like it. But I wasn’t going to be eating it — now, was I?

Friendship, I will admit, often bewilders me.

Anyhow, in a pan that’s large enough to steam a bunch of clams, saute an onion, four cloves of garlic, some hot pepper, and four anchovy fillets in olive oil. Also add some herbs; I’ve used thyme and marjoram here. Saute until the onions are softened but not browned. (And, yes, you can ditch the anchovy and/or hot pepper if you like.)

Add one pound of sweet Italian sausage meat.

After the meat has browned a bit, add 1 1/2 cups of broth (I used chicken here) and allow to boil for around 10 minutes.

Add one 15-ounce can of cannellini beans (drained) and cook for another 5 minutes.

Add a dozen or more whole clams (there are 18 mahogany clams here), then cover the pan and allow the clams to cook all the way through until all have opened. This should take 5 to 10 minutes; discard any clams that do not open.

Mix in a handful of freshly chopped parsley and serve.

Or, stick in somebody else’s fridge and let them serve it.

Either way, I won’t be getting any.

Gramercy Tavern baked clams

9 Jan

A not quite ironclad tradition that My Associate and I share around the holidays is an extended (and always lovely and satisfying) lunch at The Gramercy Tavern in New York, in the bar area specifically. This past holiday was an “on” year for our tradition. Which brings us to these clams.

I had chosen them off of the menu, as an appetizer, something to accompany the bubbly that the lovely woman seated next to me was so enjoying. I did this with some trepidation, as all baked clams to me are judged against two no-less-than-stellar versions: my Aunt Anna’s and Don Peppe’s.

Anna’s and the Don’s are the most traditional of baked clams. The Gramercy’s are certainly not that (scallops are used as an ingredient in the stuffing), but they are very, very good nonetheless.

A few days after arriving home to Maine after Christmas with the family I was dispatched to the fish market to gather a few items, among them a bunch of clams. Seems that my lunch companion at the Gramercy had taken note of how well I had enjoyed my appetizer. She had also received “The Gramercy Tavern Cookbook” as a gift days earlier, and so, well, here we are.

Enjoy your clams. I did.

Gramercy Tavern’s Baked Clams
Reprinted from “The Gramercy Tavern Cookbook

• 1 cup white wine

• 1 shallot, sliced, plus 3/4 cups minced shallots
• 3 garlic cloves, smashed, plus 2 tablespoons minced garlic
• 1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus a few stems
• 20 large cherrystone clams, cleaned
• 1/4 cup olive oil

• 4 tablespoons unsalted butter

• 1 1/4 cups minced onions
• 1 1/4 cups minced leeks
• 1 1/2 tablespoons ginger, peeled and minced
• 2 teaspoons thyme leaves

• Salt and pepper

• 1 3/4 cups panko or dried breadcrumbs

• 7 ounces sea scallops, chopped
• 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

• 5 cups rock salt
• 1 lemon, cut into 8 wedges

1. In a large pot, bring the wine, 1 cup water, the sliced shallots, 2 of the smashed garlic cloves, and the parsley stems to a boil over high heat. Add the clams, cover the pot, and steam until they open, 6 to 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the clams to a large bowl and discard sediment.
2. Remove the clams from the shells and save half (10) of the shells. Cut the clams into quarters and transfer to a small bowl; cover and refrigerate. Separate the 10 reserved shells and rinse them. Strain the broth into a small container.
3. Make the filling. In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium-low heat. Add the onions, leeks, minced shallots, minced garlic, ginger, and 1 teaspoon of the thyme and cook until the onions are softened, 12 minutes. Reduce the heat, pour in the reserved clam broth, and simmer until the pan is almost dry. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer onion mixture to a large bowl and set aside to cool.
4. In a large skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add the panko, the remaining teaspoon of thyme, and remaining smashed garlic clove and toast, stirring constantly, until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Season with salt, discard the garlic, and transfer panko to a medium bowl.
5. To finish the filling, add the clams, scallops, chopped parsley, and lemon juice to the onion mixture, season with salt and pepper, and mix well.

6. Preheat oven to 375°F. Spread the rock salt in a large baking pan.

7. Gently pack the filling into the reserved shells. Cover the packed clams evenly with the browned panko, lightly patting to help them stick. Nestle the clams in the salt. Bake just until hot, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges.

Aunt Anna’s baked clams

1 Sep
I’m gonna get smacked for this.
Not for sharing my aunt’s recipe, but for showing you her picture. My mother’s only sister is not the type to bask in the glow of (loving) attention or praise.
But I can’t help myself. Anna makes the most amazing baked clams. They are the first thing we eat at the Christmas Eve dinner table and the most-requested food item when the whole family gets together each August.
What am I supposed to do, pretend that these rituals don’t exist? Because my aunt’s a little shy? 
It’s not like she hasn’t given me a good head smack before, you know. I can take it.
Besides, I get a lot of requests for my own baked clams recipe. And I’m getting tired of having to explain to people that I don’t have one. Come to think of it, I have never baked a clam in my entire life. And if I did decide to bake some, I would just call my aunt and ask her how she makes hers so that I could maybe have a shot at producing the taste that I crave.
These are Anna’s clams. Sadly, this August came and went without the annual family weeklong gathering, and so the next chance I will have to enjoy my aunt’s baked clams is still another four months away.
I really cannot wait.
Anna’s baked clams
2 dozen cherrystone clams, shucked (leave the clams whole)
1/2 cup bread crumbs
2 Tbsp grated cheese
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup clam juice
2 Tbsp olive oil
In a bowl mix together the bread crumbs, cheese, garlic and parsley.
Place a light layer of the mixture on each clam in the half shell.
In a separate bowl mix together the clam juice and olive oil, then put a scant teaspoon onto each clam. 
Place the clams under the broiler for around 5 minutes, or until the topping is nicely browned.