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Jul 24, 2012

Stuffed Clams a la Gaga - and my First Ever Giveaway!!!

I'm giving complete credit for this recipe to my Gaga, who cooked everything for us that was ever worth eating. She made these stuffed clams every 4th of July.

The stuffed clams, fresh out of the oven, fragrant with sage and butter and clams, each contained in it's own real clam shell, were the highlight of our annual family 4th of July at my Grandparents' house on the lake.  These clams are one of those foods of summer. The kind of food that got the kids out of the water, the Moms out of the kitchen, and the Dads away from the explosive devices. Serious 4th of July food.

Every summer, Big Daddy, MiniMe and I spend 2 weeks by the sea. Usually, we are there in June, after school lets out and before the tourists descend.  This year, end of school was delayed because the beginning of school was delayed, so we had 4th of July in the middle of our vacation.


Fourth of July 2012 was Big Daddy's and my 20th Wedding Anniversary.  Where, did the time go?  We don't look all that different from the day we pledged our troth (ok, I admit, different glasses and color from a bottle). It feels like it was just last week.... 

Because we were going to be on vacation, because it was our anniversary, and because we felt like it, we decided to have a 4th of July party. A real party. We still did the cooking and decorating and cleaning up, but we had invites printed with a "RSVP" which we sent to most of our friends, old and new.

Though I had never made Gaga's stuffed clams before, I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to try them. They were a hit! I didn't have the quahog shells, like Gaga had, but I made do with some scallop shells I found on the docks where the local scallop fishermen dump them on a regular basis.

Here's the recipe. I hope you have a summer party for which you can make them, too!  Or, if you are feeling beachy this Christmas, maybe they'd make a good appetizer for your holiday feast.

Please don't ever admit that there are no fresh clams in this recipe. I never have and I never will!

Oh, and warning - this recipe's got some Paula Deen amount of butter in it so beware!

You will need:
1 15oz Can Clam Chowder not "Ready to Eat"(Gaga used Campbell's which I couldn't find. I used 1/2 can Chunky brand)

1 Can Progresso White Clam Sauce

1 16oz box Ritz Crackers

1/2 C Parsley finely chopped

1 egg

1tsp ground Sage

Pepper

Paprika

1 Stick Butter

1) Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F and place the rack just above the middle position -NOT at the broil position!

2) Remove sleeves of crackers from the box and roll and crush them to bits before opening packages and dumping into a medium bowl with the Clam Chowder. Using an electric mixer, mix cracker crumbs and chowder until they come together

3) Add the White Clam Sauce, the Pepper, the Parsley, and the Sage and mix thoroughly. The mixture will have the consistency and appearance of oatmeal. Don't hold it against me. I promise you, it will taste better than it looks at this point. PROMISE!!!

4) Spoon the mixture into individual clam shells or scallop shells, if you can find them. The amount of stuffing per shell depends on the size of the shell. I used an ice cream scoop to fill the scallop shells.  Put about 1/4 Tbsp of butter on each clam (1/2 Tbsp for scallops), then sprinkle with Paprika. Place them all on a baking sheet - it's ok if they are crowded.

5) Pop clams into the preheated oven and Bake 5-6 minutes for clam shells, I baked the scallops for 10 - 12 minutes. The tops will be nicely golden brown when ready. If you aren't sure, poke a fork into the biggest, fattest one and make sure the fork comes out hot. 


Eat 'em up with a fork and a smile!!


ENJOY!!!


Disclaimer:  I have no commercial, personal or impersonal relationship with any of the above referenced brand names. They don't know me from Adam!


I used about 10-12  large scallop shells (6 ins across) or maybe 20-24 large clam shells for the above recipe. Be prepared to replace the shells every so often. They get thrown out by mistake, taken home as a souvenir of a great day, or sometimes (ew) used as an ashtray.  The edges of the shells can be fragile, so they break easily as well.

When you get them home, scrub the shells with whatever you use to scrub a pot, then run them through the dishwasher. You can put them in the silverware basket if they won't stay in the racks.
If you get scallop shells, they should be about the size of a cocktail plate - put them in the top rack.

I know you are going to want to know - "WHERE DO I GET SHELLS????" If you aren't by the sea or near a fishing port, find a raw bar or a sea food market and ask if you can have a bunch of their cast off shells.  

Giveaway: Because my collection of shells is readily replenished, because it's Tuesday, and because I've never done it before, I will give 8 of my Scallop Shells to a randomly selected entrant.

Or, if there's only one entrant, they get it. US shipping addresses only, please!


Just leave a creative comment below by next 11:59 PM Tuesday, July 31, 2012! I will announce the winner on Wednesday, August 1st.


May the odds be forever in your favor!




2 comments:

  1. very original and fun giveaway! yeh Summer ; D

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  2. Update - So, a year later, we made stuffed clams again. I learned a couple of things: 1) write out the words "not ready to eat clam chowder" on the grocery list you give to your husband. If you can't find Campbells, try Snows or Bumblebee brand, 2) Do not substitute Town House crackers for Ritz. The lower butter content doesn't work.

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