Friday, August 5, 2011

Stuffernucks: Stuffed Quahogs Made with Tuckernuck Clams

While prepping the last of my clams from Nantucket for a future batch of clam chowder, I skimmed a few clams from the batch and prepared a few stuffers. We grew up eating stuffed quahogs at what is now Green Pond Seafood in East Falmouth. We'd sail my brother's Sunfish to the little marina and treat ourselves to this Cape Cod delicacy. Quahogs, the largest of the hard clams here on the Cape and Islands, are best used in chowders and as stuffed clams. They can be tougher than the smaller hard clams, but if not overcooked they are quite tender and tasty.

Stuffernucks (Makes 6)
3 cups of diced French Bread (I used Pain D'Avignon)
8-10 Quahogs
1/2 of a small green pepper (diced)
1/4 of small white onion (diced)
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
Sprinkle of red pepper flakes
1 tsp of Worcestershire Sauce
Juice from the cooked quahogs
Salt and pepper

Steam the quahogs in a about 2 inches of water until they open. This should take about 8-10 minutes. 

As soon as they open remove them from the pan.

Remove the clams from the shell, chop into pieces, and set aside. Reserve the clam broth and 6 of the quahog shells. Saute the diced pepper, onion, red pepper flakes and Worcestershire Sauce in olive oil until golden brown. Remove from the heat and add the bread, chopped clams and about 1/4 cup of the clam broth. Mix well and add a little bit of water, if needed, to dampen all the bread. Add salt and pepper, to taste.

Cut through the hinge on the back of the clam to separate the shells. Rinse the shells and remove the muscle from the inside. Stuff each shell with the clam mixture and place in a baking dish, or cast iron pan.  Place a small pat of butter on top of each stuffer, then cover the pan with foil. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and place under the broiler to brown the tops.

Squeeze a little fresh lemon over them and dive in. They were delicious and my daughter, who up until now has avoided clams, is now a fan.
Note: You can refrigerate the stuffing overnight and then stuff the shells right before baking. I think they may be even tastier this way as the bread absorbs all of the other flavors and seasonings.

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