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National Clams on the Half Shell Day: Food Holiday

National Clams on the Half Shell Day

Quote for Today: There is only one drinking spot for us and it is the Clam. Peter, The Family Guy  National Clams on the Half Shell Day, Today in Food History, Roadtrips R Us

 

Today in Food History, Clams on the Half Shell Recipe March 31st is National Clams on the Half Shell Day.  How this day came about I have no idea. In doing some research on this subject, I came to realize that no one else had any insight as to how this day came about either. No matter, Clams are delicious and don’t need a special day to be enjoyed.  I personally love raw clams on the half shell, but some of the most die-hard, full bellied, fried clam lovers do not.  Since this holiday does not specify raw clams, I am going to focus on a New England favorite, the “Stuffie.” These Clams available all along the North Atlantic Coast are generally a chopped Clam and bread crumb mixture with vegetables, bacon, and sausage that are baked in a Clam shell. Because the Clam goes so well with other ingredients, there are endless variations to this dish.  Here is my favorite recipe along with a few restaurants that will offer you their version. 

Clam Stuffies
Delicious Clam Stuffies
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Ingredients
  1. 12 Quahog Clams, washed and scrubbed
  2. 12 Mussels, washed and scrubbed
  3. For the Broth
  4. 1 cup White Wine
  5. 1 cup Water
  6. 1 Lemon, juice
  7. 1 cloves Garlic, crushed
  8. 1 stalk Celery, diced
  9. 2 tbsp Onion, diced
  10. 2 tbsp Carrot, diced
  11. 1 Bay Leaf
  12. For the Stuffing
  13. 3 tbsp Butter
  14. 1 Shallot, finely diced
  15. 3/4 up Celery, finely diced
  16. 1/2 cup Red Bell Pepper, finely diced
  17. 6 oz Tasso Ham, minced
  18. 1 oz Pernod or Anisette
  19. 2 cups Captain Wafers or Ritz Cracker Crumbs
  20. 1/2 cup chopped, cooked Spinach
  21. 1/4 cup Clam Broth, well strained
  22. 1/4 cup grated Asiago Cheese
  23. 1/4 cup chopped Parsley
Instructions
  1. The first thing to do is scrub and rinse clams and mussels in fresh water. In a heavy sauce pan, add all ingredients for the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until liquid is reduced by half. Strain well. Add Clams to sauce pan, add reduced broth then cover and steam covered for ten minutes. Remove any Clams that are opened. Add mussels, cover and steam an additional five minutes until all mussels are open. Remove meat from shells and finely chop. Set aside. Separate the Clam shells, scrub clean, pat dry and set aside.
  2. Clam Stuffies: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. In a large skillet melt butter. Add celery, shallot and red bell pepper, sauté over medium heat 4-5 minutes. Add Tasso, Spinach and Pernod continue to cook for 2-3 minutes. Add cracker crumbs, broth, chopped Clams and Mussels then mix thoroughly. Remove from heat; fold in chopped Parsley then spoon into clean Clam shells. Bake for 25 minutes. Sprinkle on Asiago Cheese a bake for another 4-5 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges and hot sauce.
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If you would rather let someone else do the cooking, give these places a try.
 
Anthony’s Seafood Market – Middletown, RI:  The Bucolo family started this place in Newport back in 1956.  In 1998, they moved to Middletown on Memorial Day weekend to the delight of the Island’s community. The hot and mild Stuffies and the Portuguese Fish Chowder along with reasonably priced beer and wine keep locals and tourist alike coming back.
 
Lenny’s Indian Head Inn – Branford, CT: A well-known eatery opened in 1939 that served up food and drink to a notorious night crowd. Owner, Thomas Fitzgerald tended the bar himself until he retired in 1966. You can get your fill of delicious seafood here.
 
Rustic Inn Crabhouse – Ft. Lauderdale, FL:  What started out as a roadhouse saloon back in 1955 has turned into the place to go for seafood, especially their world famous Garlic Crabs. Here you can get Clams Oreganata, Clams Casino or Stuffies and more. You might even run into Johnny Depp or Dan Marino while you are there.  TJ
 
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