This is my take on a classic Rhode Island dish, that uses quahogs, a large variety of clam native to Rhode Island. I know that it’s available in other states in New England, but if you can’t find them in your area, you can also use regular clams for this dish if they’re a bit bigger - you just need more of them. It’s got a lot more vegetables, and a lot more lemon, and it’s PERFECT with Newcastle. Seriously—get some Newcastle before you eat these. You won’t regret it.
- 5 quahogs (very large clams), rinsed of dirt
- 3 tbsp butter
- 1 green pepper, chopped coursely
- 3 celery stalks, chopped coursely (about a cup)
- 1/2 red onion, chopped coursely
- 1/2 piece turkey kielbasa (about 6-7 inches), chopped coursely
- 1 cup bread crumbs (I use multi-grain, but you can use any kind you like)
- 1 tsp dry thyme
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 lemons, zested and juiced
- 2 tsp tabasco sauce
- 2 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
Preheat your oven to 425. Put about a gallon of salted water on to boil. When it boils, put the clams in and cover. Boil 6-8 minutes, until shells open. When they’re done, take them out, rinse in cold water, and take the meat out of the shells (making sure to remove the tough muscly bits—there’s usually 2 or 3). Chop the meat finely and put aside. Break the shells in half, rinse them and lay them out on a baking sheet while you prepare the filling.
To prepare the filling, melt the butter in a large frying pan and add pepper, celery, red onion and kielbasa. Sauté for about 10 minutes, until the veggies are very cooked. Take off the heat. Add the thyme, bread crumbs, lemon juice and zest, minced clam meat and tabasco. Mix together until bread crumbs are moistened. Use the quahog shells to scoop up enough of the mixture to fill the shell. Pack the shell tightly with the mixture (don’t be afraid to use your hands here) and set down on the tray. Continue until all the shells are filled or all the mixture is used up. Sprinkle shredded cheddar on top. Put the filled shells in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes, or until cheese is melted and brown. Serve with lemon, tabasco sauce, and a Newcastle.