One reason this dish would be great for a party is because the clams can be steamed open and prepped in advance and kept in the refrigerator. They can be popped into a hot oven for a brief 10 minutes to warm through just before serving. So, to begin, I always clean clams by putting them in a big bowl of water and adding a few tablespoons of flour. I leave them to soak and purge for 15 minutes or so. Then, I rinse the clams to remove any flour, and they’re ready to steam. To steam, I put them in a Dutch oven, add some water and white wine to total about one-half cup, maybe add a peeled and smashed garlic clove or two, cover, and bring to a boil. Check the clams after a few minutes and remove each one as it opens. Once cool enough to handle, the top of each shell was removed. If serving at a party, I would loosen the clams from the bottom shells at this point to make eating them even easier. They could be refrigerated until ready to serve. For the bread crumb filling, I toasted the panko in a dry skillet on top of the stove first. This wasn’t called for in the recipe, but the bread crumbs will have a better chance of a good overall toasting if given this head start. While toasting, a teaspoon of soy sauce and a small drizzle of sesame oil were added. After toasting, a teaspoon of wasabi powder was stirred into the bread crumbs. The bread crumb mixture was spooned on top of each opened clam, and the clams were placed on a baking sheet. They went into a 450 degree F oven for 10 minutes and were topped with chopped garlic chives before serving.
Clams, and all bivalves, are such a good sustainable choice of seafood; I’m thrilled to have some new recipes like this one for using them. There are also recipes in the book for pan-roasted and fried clams. This book does a great job of pointing you in new directions with mostly familiar ingredients and recipes and gets you thinking creatively about myriad other ways you might tweak some of your favorite meals. Happy party season, and Happy Thanksgiving!
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