For a taste of Martha’s Vineyard away from the coast make these stuffed quahogs – hard shell clams – to enjoy with an evening drink before dinner.
Stuffed quahogs (the Vineyard’s name for hard-shell clams) were my father’s favorite appetizer. On special occasions, he would get dressed in his favorite summer madras slacks and take us out to the Harborside Inn in Edgartown for sundown drinks, where we would sit on the deck. I would feed the ducks and sip my soft drink. He would have a martini and sit back and savor the restaurant’s wonderful way with stuffed quahogs. This isn’t the Harborside’s recipe, but it comes close in taste, and I can never serve it without thinking of my father and the delight he took in watching the sun set over Edgartown Harbor as he ate stuffed quahogs. If you don’t want to mail-order quahogs, you may use any hard-shell clams. They won’t taste exactly like those from the Vineyard, but they will still be pretty darned good.–Jessica B. Harris
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup Chardonnay or other dry white wine
- 24 quahogs scrubbed
- 1 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
- 1/4 cup crumbled saltine crackers (optional)
- 1 egg beaten
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 small yellow onion minced
- 2 scallions including 2 inches of green tops, minced
- 3 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon Bell’s Seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Bring the water and wine to a boil in a 5-quart saucepan. Add the clams, discarding any that fail to close to the touch. Cover, return to a boil, and cook for 5 minutes.
- Uncover, remove any open clams with a slotted spoon, and then re-cover and continue to cook for 3 to 4 minutes longer, or until the remaining clams open. Remove them with the slotted spoon, discarding any that failed to open.
- When the clams are cool enough to handle, remove the meats from the shells and reserve the bottom shells. Mince the clam meats. Rinse and dry the reserved shells.
- Combine the minced clams, panko, saltines (if using), and egg in a bowl and mix well. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the yellow onion and saute for 5 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove from the heat and add the sauteed onion to the clam mixture along with the scallions, parsley, salt, Bell’s Seasoning, Old Bay Seasoning, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Mix well.
- Spoon the clam mixture into the reserved clam shells, dividing it evenly, and place the stuffed clams on a baking sheet. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the tops are lightly browned.
- Serve hot.