Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Carolina Deviled Clams

These are little bites of absolute, spicy clam bliss! This is the third recipe in my vintage recipe remake collection and boy am I glad that I chose to revamp this one; frankly I am not sure why its a vintage recipe we should be eating this daily! This recipe comes from the Young Republic cookbook which spans the birth and younger years of the American Republic. Americans were enjoying independence and starting to find their own culinary style of cooking, and the southern states were a treasure trove of these American recipes. When people ask me or talk about the American culinary identity I always tend to think of southern food. Fried chicken, hush puppies, collard greens, macaroni and cheese and apple pie all come to mind. Old fashion, home cooked food that sticks to your ribs and makes you feel right at home. I know there are lots of other things that are part of the American cuisine but I have a southern mother and extended family so I grew up eating these things and they make me feel at home. I spent some time in South Carolina, about 5 years, and I love the seafood laden dishes that the state is known for; this dish is definitely reminiscent of that cuisine. I started with a garlic, celery, onion and bacon as the base for the stuffing. I then coated my homemade seasoned bread crumbs with this mixture and added a generous helping of Jojo's siracha which just put it over the top, boy was it amazing! I could have eaten the whole bowl of stuffing right there! I honestly couldn't imagine anything being more delicious, my husband and I ate 2 dozen, stuffed clams by ourselves; yes, yes that happened!

Let's talk about clams for a minute. I bought the wild US caught ones at my local co-op and those are the ones that the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch recommends that you buy. It supports fishermen that fish responsibly and ensures that you are getting a healthy and quality product. That being said they are full of sand, because they are fished in the wild so you will need to clean them properly, or your dish will be full of grit. I soaked mine, changing the water 3 times, in very cold water with about 1/4 cup of cornmeal. The cornmeal makes the clams spit out the sand, you may still need to check them for sand after you have steamed them. I only had 3 that were still full of sand so this method worked well. You are also going to scrub them really well, with a potato brush and trim the beard if they have one, mine did not and you can ask your fishmonger to do this when you buy them.

This recipe makes 2 dozen clams, which at our house served 2.
Adapted from the Young Republic, A National Treasury of Cookery.


2 dozen wild caught, US clams, any kind of wild caught will work.
1 Fresh, organic bay leaf
1/2 Cup organic celery, chopped finely.
1/2 Cup organic onion, chopped finely.
4 Organic garlic cloves, minced or grated.
4 Pieces pasture raised bacon, chopped.
2 Tbsp pasture raised butter
3/4 Cup homemade bread crumbs, click on the link to get my recipe.
1/2 tsp dried, organic thyme
1/2 tsp dried, organic sage
Sea salt & fresh ground pepper, to taste.
2 Tbsp olive oil mayonnaise, I use Hellman's.
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 large Tbsp Jojo's siracha, I highly recommend using a siracha or Tabasco here.
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
Big bunch fresh, organic chives, about 3 Tbsp chopped.


Put 2 Cups of water in a stock pot and the bay leaf. Steam the clams*, covered until they open, about 2-5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside uncovered to cool.

While the clams cool, cook the bacon in the butter until crispy. Add in the celery, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, thyme and sage. Saute till the vegetables are soft, about 6 minutes. Turn off the pan and add the bread crumbs directly to the pan, stir to coat them well. Remove them to a small bowl and stir in the mayo, Worcestershire, siracha, lemon juice and chives. Mix to combine well.

Prepare the clams by removing the top part of the shell, that is not attached to the clam meat, discard. With a pairing knife carefully sever the clam meat, separating it from the shell so that it will be easy to eat. Check for sand at this time, but be careful not to dump out the liquid in the shell unless you absolutely must, due to lots of grit, the liquid has a lot of flavor and keeps the clam moist. Arrange the clams, on the half shell, on a baking sheet and top each with some of the stuffing, you can be generous there is plenty to go around. Broil for 3-4 minutes or until the stuffing is a deep golden brown and crispy. Remove and let cool slightly (I actually thought they were best at room temperature).

Serve with a wedge of lemon and an icy cold local microbrew beer, they pair quite nicely with beer!

*Make sure to read the blog post above on how to clean your clams before cooking.


  1. Wow, I am not even a big seafood lover, but these look AMAZING!

    1. Thank you so much!! We really loved them! :)

  2. I so agree, these should always be enjoyed! Love the flavors combined, what a perfect appetizer at any party! Yum, Take care, Terra