Friday, December 04, 2009

Stuffed Quahogs

Here in Maryland where I live they call quahogs "clams". Proper clams, or steamers (soft shelled clams) are served nowhere in Maryland, even though many are harvested here. They are shipped north to New England, where I grew up, and sold there for fried clams or steamers. It's ironic that I can't get fried clams or real steamed clams here. If you order steamed clams in Maryland, you get steamed quahogs, a ridiculous way to prepare them. Tough and inedible. Typical Maryland wrongheadedness.

Up there in the northeast I grew up eating a lot of regional seafood. Fried eel, finnan haddie, codfish tongues and cheeks, scrod, steamed clams, herring roe, and stuffed quahogs. All delicious.

Big quahogs need to be chopped up and made into stuffed quahogs, not steamed. Here's my recipe for stuffed quahogs.


Stuffed Quahogs

12 big quahogs
commercial stuffing mix (pepperidge farm, whatever you like) 1 bag
celery
onion
green pepper
sausage (optional)

Put the quahogs in a pot with 2 cups of water and boil until they open up. Don't overcook them, just get them to open up and release their liquor or they will get tough. Take them out and keep the water you cooked them in.

Dice up the onion, celery, pepper and sausage into a small dice. Saute in butter until softened. You want about 1 to 2 cups of this for one bag of stuffing.

By now the quahogs are cool. Take them out of their shells. Reserve the shells. Rough chop them.

Take the water from cooking the quahogs (you want all the juice and flavor that the quahogs gave up as they steamed) and use it to make the stuffing according to the stuffing directions. Add the celery, pepper, onion and sausage mixture to the stuffing. Add the chopped quahogs to the stuffing.

The stuffing mixture is now food, but we still have two ways to go with it.

Traditional

Put the stuffing mixture into the quahog shells, which you didn't disconnect, and close the shell. Wrap the stuffed shells in tinfoil to keep them closed, and bake in the oven until hot. This is what you will get in a restaurant in New England, and it's fine.

My Way

Fill half shells with the stuffing, leave them open, and bake in a hot oven until the stuffing gets a little crisped up on top.

Either way

Top with butter and serve with a good hot sauce. I like Cholula brand hot sauce, but any will do. I don't know why you have to have hot sauce on stuffed quahogs, but you do.

You'll either really like stuffed quahogs, or you won't. There's no in between.

Makes 12 stuffed quahogs.

2 comments:

  1. I spent 20 years in New England (Southern NH and suburban Boston - Metro North they sometimes called it). When I was 16, I was bagging groceries at a local supermarket chain called Alexander's. A store manager approached me one day. He told me I was "going places," and that effective immediately, I was being promoted (with no raise) to the seafood department. I thought it was great - until cats started following me home from work because I smelled like a good dinner to them.

    I used to sell some of the items you spoke of, but I never developed a taste for a lot of them. I was told that there was no such thing as a Scrod fish as "Scrod" supposedly meant white fish of the day.

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  2. You are correct - there is no such thing. Some people think it's a young cod, but I think it's generally any whitc, firm fish (code, hake, etc.)

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