photo by Jennifer Johnson
Stuffed clams, known as “stuffies” in New England, are a mixture of minced clams and breadcrumbs baked into the shells of hard-shell clams. It’s a coastal classic, and one to keep for your repertoire.
- 6 hard-shell clams (chowder clams)
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 cup finely diced chorizo, or other dry, spicy sausage
- 1/2 small onion, finely chopped
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 cups packed chopped fresh breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley
- Unsalted butter
- Lemon wedges, for garnish, optional
- Check clams and make sure none of them are already open. If any are, gently push shells together with your fingers to see if clam will close. If not, discard it. Wash clams one at a time under running water, removing any sand with your fingers (or a small brush). Set aside.
- In a large sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add chorizo and cook until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to bowl of a food processor.
- Return pan to medium heat and add another 1 tablespoon oil. Add onions and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Transfer to food processor with chorizo. Return pan to medium heat and add remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Add breadcrumbs and toast until lightly browned. Set aside.
- Place a steamer basket in bottom of a pot and add enough water to cover bottom (do not let water enter steamer basket). Bring to a boil. Add clams, cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer until clams open, 10-15 minutes. Remove clams as they open and set aside. Strain clam water through a fine-mesh sieve set over a large measuring cup and set aside.
- Once cooled, run a spoon (or paring knife) underneath each clam to loosen it from its bottom shell. Remove any side hinges inside of clams. Add clams to food processor and pulse until desired consistency. Add breadcrumbs and parsley and pulse 1-2 more times. Transfer mixture to a bowl.
- Place 6 bottom shells on baking sheet. Using a damp paper towel, wipe out shells of any residual sand or grit. Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Add enough clam juice to evenly moisten stuffing mixture, about 1/2 cup (watch out for sand that has collected on bottom of pan and avoid adding). Divide breadcrumb mixture among shells, mounding each evenly. Dot top of each clam with a small pat of butter and season with pepper. Bake clams for 20-25 minutes, until lightly browned. If desired, place under broiler to brown tops for another 1 minute. Serve warm with lemon wedges (if using).