Stuffies

So here I am on my honeymoon in Dennis, Massachusetts, about half way across Cape Cod. My in-laws own a house here and have given us two weeks during peak season as a wedding present. We’re not right on the beach, but the Cape is so skinny that we can get to either the north or south shore in about 10 minutes.

Since we’re down for two weeks and on a pretty strict budget, we’re mainly cooking here at the cottage, but that doesn’t keep us from eating really well. The seafood is very fresh so we’ve had some grilled salmon and whitefish, pan-fried scallops in wine, and lobster rolls on buttery grilled bread, but the dish I love the most when I come to the Cape is stuffed clams.

Affectionately known here as stuffies, stuffed clams are found in many of the local restaurants, as well as all the fresh and frozen seafood displays in large and small markets. Some are better than others but the best ones are homemade, using hard shell clams (also known as quahogs).

The basic ingredients are usually steamed minced clams, clam juice, bread crumbs, parsley, minced onion sauteed in butter, and Parmesan cheese. You can also find stuffies with garlic, wine, lemon juice, peppers, or ritz crackers and sausage, like the ones at Sandwich, Massachusett’s restaurant Marshland, as described in an article on CapeCodOnline. All the ingredients are spooned into clam shell halves and baked till the filling is hot and browned on top.

Stuffies make a great accompaniment to any seafood meal instead of rice, pasta, or bread. They can be very satisfying as the entree, as well, served with a salad or a cup of chowder and a cold pint of beer or glass of white wine.

I was born in Providence, Rhode Island and for my extended family, digging for quahogs in the mud flats when the tide had gone out was a happy summer pastime. If that’s too much of a commitment, getting a dozen large clams from a seafood store will do just fine!

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