Thursday, September 22, 2011

Angry Clams Casino, courtesy of Meat Blaster. That's Right, I Did 'Em on the Grill.......

Ya....It's true. I am an emotional guy. NO, I don't cry at movies.....well, when Rudy sacks that quarterback, and everyone is cheering his name, that gets me every time.....NO! I have never welled up at that scene........and when that Air Force Pilot flies in front of the missile to save the President in Air Force One (the Harrison Ford movie, duh)........I get a little teary......NO! It is a lie! My tear ducts are atrophied from lack of use!

I'm glad that's over. The point is, I have strong emotions. Sometimes, that emotion is anger. It's true. The Big J gets angry from time to time. The fastest way is when my wife or my son and their safety/happiness/well-being is threatened. That happened today. And it angered me. I heard that Big Cat (which I am now certain is a Sabre Tooth Tiger) growling menacingly inside my head, and my vision turned all reddish, and I thought unhappy thoughts. It wasn't pretty. It took ten minutes of thinking about puppies and Christmas and watching my one year old giggle and splash in the bath to bring me back to Happy Town.

It is interesting how emotions show up in our cooking. I had been planning on making something totally new and crazy tonight, since it would just be for me (Preggy Potter was only interested in plain white rice for dinner), and while I felt very sorry for her, I was excited to try something that she might not normally go for. I have always loved seafood, but she isn't wild about it, so my cooking experience with it is very beginnerish. Undaunted, I have been thinking Clam thoughts lately, so I stopped by Whole Foods today on our way back from our prenatal checkup (only 1 cm, guh!) to pick up some shellfish.

I have never had Clams Casino before in my life, but I have seen it on Food Network many times, and it always looks like something right up my alley, so I decided that would be my dinner. It's basically a clam on the half shell, baked with cheese, garlic, onions and bread crumbs. What's not to love? I decided to make it. On the grill. And make it angry. Jacked Up Grill Style. Here's how it went.

I got 6 medium sized Longneck Clams from Whole Foods, and Googled Clams Casino to have a basis for my recipe. Giada DeLaurentis from the Food Network had one that looked great, and that I thought I could adapt for the grill, so I went with it. After kissing Jack the Lil' Ripper goodnight, I went to work on this dish.

Angry Grilled Clams Casino

6 Medium Sized Longneck Clams
1/2 red bell pepper, finely diced
1 small shallot, finely diced
2 large cloves garlic, finely minced
2 strips bacon, chopped
1 cup dry white wine
3 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
2 tbsp bread crumbs
1 tbsp olive oil
Sriracha Chili Sauce, to taste (don't be a sissy. This is what makes it ANGRY)
1 tsp Worchestershire Sauce
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

So, these clams come from the store sealed more tightly shut than Fort Knox, so you basically have 6 fishy smelling rocks to begin with. When I googled how to "shuck" them, as Giada's recipe called for, it said "use your oyster knife to pry open the shell"............hold the phone, I don't have an oyster knife! What the devil. So, since Meat Blaster was already pre-heating, I got him to give me an assist. Slap those clams on the hot grill, and within about thirty seconds, they had opened up just slightly, so a regular butter knife could be inserted between the shells.

 Place the blade near the hinge, and forcibly twist until the two sides come apart. Discard one side, and use a sharp knife to separate the hideous looking clam meat from the shell itself, leaving the meat and clam juice sitting, unattached in one half of the shell.

Meat Blaster has an infrared burner on the side, which is perfect for cooking with a skillet, which this recipe calls for. If you don't have a burner, this can be done directly on the grill, so don't give up yet. In the skillet, heat the olive oil and then add the chopped bacon. When the bacon has browned, remove the pieces and set them aside. Add the chopped peppers, shallots, and garlic to the bacon fat and cook them until the shallots are mostly translucent and the peppers are tender (about 5 minutes).

Pour in the wine, and allow to reduce until almost all the liquid is evaporated. Remove from the heat, and add 2 tbsp of the parmesan cheese, the crispy bacon pieces, as much Sriracha Chile Sauce as you are interested in, the Worchestershire sauce, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix thoroughly.

Place each of the clams on the half-shell onto a sheet pan covered in aluminum foil. Place a heaping spoonful of the pepper mixture on top of each clam. Then sprinkle with bread crumbs and remaining parmesan cheese. Make sure the grill is pre-heated to at least 500 degrees, and then place the whole sheet pan on there.

Close the lid, and allow to cook for 5 minutes. Using tongs, remove the sheet pan and then place the clam shells directly onto the grill grate, and cook with the lid down for an additional 1 minute. Remove from heat and serve immediately.

I'm not kidding, when I bit into the first one of these, I was prepared for it to taste like hot garbage juice. I was blown away. It was spicy. Angry is definitely the right word for it. It was bacon-y. Always a plus. It was Clammy. That's the whole point. I have never cooked a better tasting bite of food in my life. And I have cooked some Gooder than Good bites of food. The happiness that each bite of perfectly seasoned, smoky tasting, peppery goodness imparted on my brain was almost enough to make me remember that something made me angry today. Almost.

Try this one. You'll thank me.


  1. Angry, bacony, and clammy, sounds good!

    I need to play with using my side burner for skillet cooking too, but mine is not infrared. It's a sear burner but the manufacturer says can be used that way.

    nice blog, here via Robyn's.

    1. Thanks! I have added lots of new dimensions to my grilled foods by making pan sauces on the burner, which is nice, because I don't like having to go back and forth from the grill to the stove over and over.