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A Real Nice Clambake

June 28, 2010

By Brianne Harrison

Hot summer days inevitably put me in the mood for seafood—something light, grillable, and good with a fresh salad. With that in mind, I swung by the fish section of my grocery store the other day in search of some dinner, and my delighted eyes immediately lighted on some enormous cherrystone clams. I happily bought a dozen and headed home for a clambake.

When we think of clams, we tend to think of steaming them, but last summer I learned that these bivalves are delicious grilled, and they only take a few minutes to prepare. As an added bonus, you don’t have to heat up the house by turning on the stove!

Grilled Clams with Jalapeno Honey Butter
Serves 4

2-3 dozen clams (depending on how hungry you are)

8 T (1 stick) butter

1 jalapeno pepper, chopped, seeds and membrane discarded

1 T honey

Preheat the grill on high. Scrub the clams and discard any that are open. Place the clams in a large metal pan with high sides (I used a lasagna pan). Put the pan on the grill and close the lid. Grill clams until they open, 3-10 minutes, depending on the size of the clams.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Skim off the solids that come to the top. Add the jalapeno peppers and honey. Simmer for 1-2 minutes more, until the flavors meld.

Remove the clams to a large bowl and pour their juices (collected in the pan) over them. Serve with honey butter for dipping (or pour honey butter over the clams before serving).

This is especially good with a side salad with vinaigrette and some homemade cornbread or grilled corn.

Cook’s Tips:

Before scooping out the honey, run your tablespoon under hot water for about 30 seconds. It’ll make the honey slide off much more easily.

If you’d rather not go the indulgent butter route, mix the clam juices with a squeeze of lemon and a little olive oil. You can serve this as-is or heat it up with some herbs like thyme or basil, to impart their flavor to the broth.

Healthy Roundup:

Clams are very high in iron (they have more iron than beef, believe it or not) and also have a good dose of Vitamin B12 and omega-3 fatty acids. They’re also a good source of lean protein (they have roughly the same protein and fat content as chicken).

Clams are also indigenous to the northeastern seaboard, so many of them aren’t traveling far to get to you, which is good for the environment.

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