Gather your Dinner Tonight!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Clams - gather, cook, eat!  YUM!

Clams Casino: the Coastal Carolina Recipe (and the correct, best way to make Clams Casino)

Clam Fruition


Clams Casino is one of my favorite summer recipes!  It may even be one of my favorite foods.  Some people may disagree asking why you would put all those ingredients on the clams?  I can see this as a valid point.  And, my other favorite way to eat clams is raw with a healthy dab of horseradish.  Maybe that's my favorite summer recipe.  The only problem: clams are only good raw if they are very small.  If the clam is bigger than a 50 cent piece, you really want to cook them.  

The weather at Wrightsville Beach this weekend was wonderful; it should have been illegal.  It was perfect weather for hunting and gathering, especially with low tide in the middle of the day.  I only gathered about 8 clams, that's all I need for a meal - and I was the only one eating. 

I used my hands to find the clams, but I wouldn't recommend that.  You can get a clam rake at Craft American Hardware, Lowes, or Home Depot.  I kept the clams in salt water in a sheetrock bucket.  Make sure you do keep them in water.  Replace water depending on how long it has been since you gathered them.

Upon returning to the dock, I put the clams in a pillow case, tied a knot at the top, tied a boat rope around the knot, and dropped in the water about 3-4 feet.  I headed to Tower 7 for a snack and a beer while they sifted the mud out of their shell.  I left them in the freezer after retrieving them for a night.  Last night I shucked them and began to prepare the clams.  Leaving them in the freezer naturally opens their shell.  I still use a tea towel and a sharp knife.  Laying the tea towel in my hand first then the clam gives you extra protection from cutting yourself.  Even though the clams are open, they are still frozen, and require a bit of muscle power.  Take your time, and you shouldn't have any issues. 

A couple of the clams were monsters.  So, instead of putting the entire clam in one shell for the casino, I used half of the clam using used both shells.  More casino for me, and really these should be bite size, so it is much more managable this way. 

  • Clams
  • Onion
  • Ketchup
  • Horseradish (you want the raw horseradish, not the mixed creamed one; usually found in a refridgerated section.  If you are in Wilmington or Wrightsville, they have it at Motts Seafood).
  • Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • Bacon
Don't you love my William Shakespeare picture monitoring my progress?

Preparation - the ingredient amount are all an approximation; I tend to load my clam much like a baked potato, so test your preference and try different amounts to get your perfect clam.
  • Shuck Clam.  Depending on clam size use entire clam and one shell, or split it in two (if the clams are not frozen, splitting the clam is much more difficult).
  • Dice onion and add to the clam.
  • Add approximately a teaspoon of ketchup to the clam.
  • Add approximately a teaspoon of horseradish - I like more, but I like a little kick.
  • Grate cheese and add approximately a teaspoon.
  • Cut the raw bacon about 2 inches and place on top of the other ingredients.
  • Add to broiled oven and watch until bacon is crisp to your liking.

Here is what the pre-cook clams should look like.  All the goods are under the bacon.

Below is the Pre-Eat Casino.  I like my casino very crispy, so I broil until the bacon is well done.  

Happy gathering!  And, SOOOoooo tasty!

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