Sunday, July 25, 2010

Stuffed clams

These stuffed clams were a great Friday night dinner treat for my husband and I with a couple of frosty beers and some stuffed banana peppers. I really enjoyed these clams a lot. The measurements for this recipe are approximations. I didn't really measure out all of the ingredients into the bowl as I was putting together the mixture. I eye-balled them. You can adjust them to your liking and experiment (for example, do you want less breading or a spicier mixture?). It will also depend on the size of your clams. I used about two dozen little neck clams. Try out the mixture below and see what you think. This made enough for a dinner dish for two or an appetizer for about four.
 

Stuffed clams
about 2 dozen little neck clams (scrubbed)
2 cloves garlic, minced
about 2 tablespoons minced green pepper
about 2 tablespoons minced onion
about 2 tablespoons minced celery
4 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
salt to taste
zest and juice of half a lemon
a few dashes of hot sauce
about 1 teaspoon minced  fresh oregano

about 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
about 1/2-3/4 cup breadcrumbs (I used whole grain)
olive oil and a pat of butter

 

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Arrange the clams on a baking sheet and place in the oven for about 2-3 minutes (until they open). Discard any clams that do not open. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Turn off the oven.

Cook the bacon in a small skillet (or bake in the oven). Set aside to cool and then chopped it up into small pieces. In a small skillet, cook the garlic, green pepper, onion, and celery in olive oil until soft. Set aside.

When the clams are cool enough the handle, grab a medium mixing bowl, a plate, and a cutting board. Take the clams one at a time and break the shell into two halves. Remove the clams from the shell using a knife, spoon, and/or your fingers. I tried to do this over the mixing bowl because a lot of clam juices will be in the shells. This way, you get more of the clams juices and flavors into the mixture rather than wasting those juices (just be careful to not get any pieces of shell into the bowl). Place all the clam meat on the cutting board and all of your shells on the plate. After all the clams are removed, mince up the clam meat and add it into the mixing bowl with the clam juices.

Add the bacon and vegetables into the bowl along with all of the other ingredients except the breadcrumbs, oil, and butter. Mix the ingredients well. Slowly add the breadcrumbs until you reach a good ratio of breadcrumbs to the other goodies. The clam juices and lemon juice will help provide moisture, but you will likely need more. In the vegetable skillet, warm a pat of butter and some olive oil. Slowly add this to the mixture until it becomes moist. If more moisture is needed, you can add more olive oil and/or lemon juice. Once the stuffing is moist enough, begin stuffing it into the clam shells and place them on a baking sheet. Top each clam with a sprinkling of more smoked paprika, if desired.

Place under a pre-heated broiler for about 3-5 minutes (until the tops are golden). Serve with lemon wedges and hot sauce.

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