Carpe clam. (Dead Poets Society)
I’ve always wanted to own every one of Howard Mitcham’s cookbooks, but most are way to expensive these days so I’ll be happy with my used copy of Creole Gumbo and all that Jazz and Google for his recipes.
So I found the recipe and for the most part kept it as is, but I had to increase the amounts to add into about 1 lb. of roughly chopped clams. I was short on fresh bread crumbs, but panko crumbs were a great substitute (plain or Italian). Grated lemon zest and about a teaspoon or so of Phillip’s seafood seasoning were two other additions.
Adapted from “Clams, Mussels, Oysters, Scallops & Snails” by Howard Mitcham
1 dozen large sea clams
4 cups bread crumbs *I find that to be too much and for 1 lb. of clams, I think I added closer to 1-3/4-2 cups crumbs just enough to hold the mix together, but gradually add what you like or need. Too many crumbs makes for a mushy filling, I like it chunky.
1 stick butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 yellow pepper, diced
1 rib celery, diced finely
3 slices bacon, minced
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Pinch ground cumin
1/4 cup white wine
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons sherry
Thoroughly clean clams and steam until they just open, plucking each one out just as they pop open. Reserve clam broth. Scoop the clams from their shells. Rough chop by hand.
Where most recipes say to sauté the vegetables with the bacon, I sauté the bacon first in just a touch of EVOO, remove bacon from pan and then sauté the veggies. There might be too much bacon fat in the pan so remove all but about a tablespoon then add the butter and veggies and sauté until soft.
Add wine and sherry and cook for three minutes. Add herbs and spices and cook for 2 more minutes until heated. Have chopped clams ready in a large bowl toss in bacon, cooled vegetables, and bread crumbs. Stir to combine and add about a cup of strained clam broth
Stir until well combined. Stuff the mixture into empty half shells that have been lightly brushed with olive oil. Drizzle with additional melted butter and sprinkle with paprika and bake at 375° degrees for 15-20 minutes