if you're not from cape cod, you might recognize these as clams. big b has always bragged (and bragged) that his recipe for stuffed clams is above and beyond anything i might have up my sleeve. this coming from a long islander who refers to quahogs as cherrystones, or something crazy like that. (they also sing happy birthday before you blow out your candles....its like another country down there).
at any rate, yesterday he decided to get up before dawn and head out clamming. when i got up, i realized i had all necessary ingredients on hand. so i challenged him to a stuffed quahog bake off, where the children would be the judges. let the games begin::
look at that crab grass going to seed, what a beautiful sight! actually, i for one am all for crab grass, it fills in a lot faster than "real" grass and its an indigenous plant right? probably not, but still, its green and, viewed from a distance, looks strikingly like a healthy lawn. where was i? quahogs, right, owen got some shucking lessons in and we prepped almost all of the quahogs that were brought home. now on to the kitchen. i'm not going to lie, chopping raw clams after pulling them out of their juices is a little nauseating, so i spared you the pictures::
those are my ingredients of choice right there. i set big b up on the main counter behind me and all of a sudden there was a whole lot of snooping going on. followed by, "did you put garlic in yours?". uh, yeah, the "master" was asking for recipe advice. interesting::
can you guess whose has a hunk of bacon on top? i'm surprised he didn't try to sneak some chicken in there somewhere. that being said, his most definitely was selling it in the looks department, but what about the taste?
guess what? we tied. the final judging was done by owen and kai. little lu refused to even look at her forkful. bella immediately and dramatically spit hers out and would have nothing more to do with the contest. i got kai's vote. he liked the "mushiness" inside. big b's was crispy through and through. i have to admit, his was pretty good. i failed to tell him (not on purpose, i swear) that i only put in a couple of shavings off of one clove of garlic. he apparently roughly chopped a large one. but i really loved the garlic flavor, and might actually add more to mine next time around. but don't tell him i said that.
a very rough estimation of a recipe::
3-4 TBSP butter
1 small onion chopped fine
1/2 green bell pepper chopped fine
1 8oz package of button mushrooms chopped
garlic to your liking
quahogs (10-15 large)
4 cups stuffing mix of choice
shuck clams into a bowl with their juices. lift out of juices and mince or chop to your liking. i used about a heaping cup of meat. saute onions and mushrooms in butter until all liquid from mushrooms has cooked off, then add bell peppers and saute a bit longer, about 5 minutes. add the stuffing mix and about a cup of the clam juice to moisten. use more or less depending on how moist you want the end product to be. i like mine to have some mush underneath the crispy crust so i added about a cup in the end. remove from heat and add clam meat. mix well and stuff into cleaned clam shells. bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or until nice and brown and crispy on top and a little bubbly on the edges. cool and eat.
big b's famous stuffed clams::
subtract out the mushrooms and add a little red bell pepper
use a large clove of garlic
use a little less stuffing mix
all other ingredients are the same
chop everything very roughly. just push the vegetables around and bang the knife down a few times. saute veggies for less than a minute, stir or don't, either way. add stuffing mix and just a little clam juice so mixture is still crumbly. put in shells and throw on a hunk of bacon. cook as above. cool and eat.