We took full advantage of the seasonably warm temps to continue our new weekly tradition of grilling up some local clams.
We made it a point this summer to buy at least a dozen clams every Friday from Pepe's Cream of the Crop (Stratford, CT) at the Danbury Farmers' Market. This husband and wife team, Ed and Laurie Popadic of Stratford, harvest hard shell clams year round from their shellfish farm in the Long Island Sound. The Popadics hit hard times earlier this year when a fire ravaged their boat and Ed suffered third degree burns. Thankfully Ed is now doing well and they were able to make it work with a little help from another boat until they got a new one of their own.
Needless to say the clams are incredibly fresh and I had fun playing around all summer with various "sauces" to serve with all that pure sea goodness. Below is my base recipe. It's my solid starting point. From here I add and subtract ingredients based on what I have in the house. My latest variation substituted in bacon fat and added in crumbled bacon pieces. That's definitely the reigning champion combination so far. Have fun with it.
Grilled Clams with White Wine and Butter
Serves 2 (as an appetizer)
- 1 dozen little neck clams, rinsed and scrubbed
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Zest of half a lemon
- 3 tablespoons white wine
- Pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flake
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
- Heat the grill to medium high heat.
- Place the clams right on the grill grate and as soon as they open up, take them off the grill and place them into a large bowl.
- While the clams cook make the sauce.
- In a small pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add in the olive oil and garlic. Saute the garlic until it becomes fragrant. Pour in the white wine. Add in the pinch of salt and crushed red pepper flakes. Stir occasionally and keep warm on low until all the clams are cooked.
- When the clams are cooked, pour on the sauce and sprinkle on the minced fresh parsley. Serve immediately.
Pepe's Cream of the Crop will also be at the winter farmer's market in Monroe at Benedict's Home + Garden (480 Purdy Hill Rd) on Fridays starting Jan. 9th.
Photos by Renato Ghio