Shore Food: Clams
Clams are one of Cape May, New Jersey's unsung treasures. They're one of the area's biggest seafood catches.
Whether you buy them or go clamming and catch the clams yourself, if you want to eat them, you're going to have to open them and it's no accident that clams have a hard, tight shell. It's their only defense against all the critters who would love to gobble up this gastronomic delight.
How to coax those shells open?? Here's a little trick:
Now you've weakend their defenses and you're ready to pry them open.
(For safety's sake, you can put a cloth towel in your hand for protection.)
Do this over a dish to catch any juice - do NOT throw this liquid away!
Now you're ready to cook up these little devils.
Most Cape May restaurants serve their own special versions of clam chowder so, when you visit, make sure to order a bowl.
And every September, during the Food and Wine festival, there's a Chowder Cook off. If you're a clam chowder lover, you won't want to miss that!
One of our favorite clam recipes is a very easy Clam Stew that we've adapted from Biba Caggiano's Trattoria Cooking.
Saute some garlic and fresh parsely in olive oil, add a half-cup of white wine and some of that clam juice you saved. Let it bubble for a minute or two then throw in a large can of skinless tomatoes, chopped into small pieces. Let that simmer for about 5 minutes, adding a few dashes of cayenne and black pepper for some zip.
Then stir in about a dozen chopped cherrystone size clams. The stew's ready to eat in three minutes. Serve over some toasted Italian bread placed in the bottom of a soup bowl.
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