Annie Copps Stuffed Quahogs

In Chef Annie Copps new cookbook, “A Little Taste of Cape Cod”, available on Amazon, you’ll find lots of delicious recipes including ‘Soups, Sandwiches & Sides’, ‘Main Courses’, and ‘Desserts’.  But our favorite section is ‘Appetizers & Small Bites’.  When visitors drop in and you want to treat them to something ‘Cape Cod’, nothing beats a Stuffed Quahog.  Even folks who are not crazy about seafood love these little gems.

Annie’s recipe is ideal for a first course or a light lunch.  You can also save the smaller shells the next time you steam littlenecks on the grill – fill the littleneck shells with Annie’s delicious mixture and you’ll have enough for a small crowd at your next cookout.  These also freeze beautifully so you can make a big batch – all you have to do is microwave the frozen gems for about 3 minutes on high.

Annie Copps travels the world for Oceania Cruise Lines as a Culinary Instructor and Foodie Tour Leader.  But you will often find her on Cape Cod where she has family.  Her cookbook is filled with Cape Cod recipes that will make your mouth water.  Here she shares her recipe for Stuffed Quahogs.  Enjoy!

Annie Copps Stuffed Quahogs
Makes 12 large Quahogs or many small ones

Ingredients:
12 large Quahog clams, scrubbed and rinsed
4 Tbls. unsalted butter, plus 1 Tbls., melted
1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/4 cup seeded and finely chopped green or red bell pepper
2 Tbls. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 Tbls. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
12 Ritz crackers, finely crushed (about 1/2 cup) -
or you can substitute Panko bread crumbs
Paprika for garnish
1 cup kosher or sea salt for baking

Directions:
Put the clams in a large stock pot and add enough water to cover by about 2 inches.  Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer.  Cover and cook until the clams are wide open, 6 to 10 minutes.  Remove the clams from the pot and let cool.  Discard any clams that did not open.

When cool enough to handle, remove the clam meat, transfer to a cutting board, and mince finely.  Set aside on a plate.  (If not serving within an hour, cover and refrigerate.)  Break apart the clamshells at their hinges, rinse and dry.  Choose 12 of the cleanest, best-looking shells and set aside.  Discard the remaining shells.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a saute pan over medium heat, melt the 4 tablespoons butter.  Add the onion, celery, and bell pepper and cook, stirring gently, until softened and fragrant, about 5 minutes.  Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley, cheese, pepper and Worcestershire sauce.  Add 1/4 cup of the cracker crumbs and mix well.  Pour off any clam liquid that accumulated on the plate and reserve.  Add the minced clams to the vegetable mixture.  If it seems dry, add the reserved clam liquid as needed.  Divide the filling among the 12 shells and pack firmly.  In a small bowl, stir together the remaining cracker crumbs and the melted butter and sprinkle over the filling.

In another small bowl, combine the salt and, working in a teaspoon or two at a time, add just enough water to create a sandy paste.  On a rimmed baking sheet, make 12 salt ‘nests’ and place each clam on top of a nest.  Bake until the crumbs on top are crunchy and deep brown in color, 10 to 14 minutes.  Sprinkle with paprika and serve hot.


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