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
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.
Delicious Clam Stuffies
- 12 Quahog Clams, washed and scrubbed
- 12 Mussels, washed and scrubbed
- For the Broth
- 1 cup White Wine
- 1 cup Water
- 1 Lemon, juice
- 1 cloves Garlic, crushed
- 1 stalk Celery, diced
- 2 tbsp Onion, diced
- 2 tbsp Carrot, diced
- 1 Bay Leaf
- For the Stuffing
- 3 tbsp Butter
- 1 Shallot, finely diced
- 3/4 up Celery, finely diced
- 1/2 cup Red Bell Pepper, finely diced
- 6 oz Tasso Ham, minced
- 1 oz Pernod or Anisette
- 2 cups Captain Wafers or Ritz Cracker Crumbs
- 1/2 cup chopped, cooked Spinach
- 1/4 cup Clam Broth, well strained
- 1/4 cup grated Asiago Cheese
- 1/4 cup chopped Parsley
- 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.
- Clam Stuffies: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- 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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