Great stuffed clams from your own oven.
My favorite stuffed clams have been the stuffed Quahogs
served at several restaurants on Cape Cod. Most stuffies
served elsewhere, and the ones found in most supermarket
freezers, are mostly bread crumbs, with barely a whiff of clam.
I discovered a really good source of heat-at-home stuffed
clams. All Fresh Seafood has operated a wholesale fresh
seafood business in the New York/New Jersey area for nearly
20 years, and is a major supplier of shellfish and finfish to
restaurants and clubs.
All Fresh's fresh, hand-made baked stuffed clams start with
chopped Long Island clams, and then get a dose of clam juice,
garlic, parsley, onions and butter, and a light dusting of bread
There are definitely more clams than bread crumbs. The
baked clams were absolutely delicious, and I recommend them
highly. There's no reason to get any other kind, unless you
prefer bread to clams.
Heating in a 350-degree oven took about 10 minutes. Eating
was much faster than heating.
My samples were packaged loosely in a tub container, and
most of the filling came out during shipment. It only took a
minute to re-load the clam shells. It wasn't a big deal, and now I
can legitimately claim that I stuffed the clams myself.
I also got to try some fresh littlenecks, that I quickly steamed in
the microwave. They were juicy, fresh, and absolutely perfect.
All Fresh Seafood has earned our FIVE STARFISH rating.
The company says, "We continuously search the world for
funky, hard to find seafood items. We quickly earned a
reputation with the area's highest rated chefs and
restaurateurs as the seafood company that could not and did
not say 'no.' If it swims we find it!"
All Fresh has been on the web since 1998, to allow people
across the country to buy fresh seafood online with the same
commitments to service, product, price and selection that was
available to local commercial customers. Their website includes
a School of Fish section where you can learn how to select
and prepare fish and seafood. There are tips and insights on:
Including fish as part of a healthy diet, Selecting and
purchasing high quality fish, Storing and handling fish, Cooking
and preparing fish, Serving suggestions.
Brand names on raw clams?
While it's common to see familiar grocery names on cans of
chopped and minced clams, we were surprised to discover Cedar
Key branded live clams at Costco seafood "road shows."
Cedar Key Aquaculture Farms is the largest clam farmer in Florida,
and they've earned our coveted UCLA FIVE STARFISH rating for
their delicious littlenecks.
The shells were a bit more reddish than the clams we're used to up
here in New England (Florida sun tan, maybe?), and they definitely
had less sand.
Cedar Key supplies Costcos east of the Mississippi, as well as
Kash-n-Karry supermarkets in Florida and selected Winn-Dixies
throughout the southeast.
If your local store doesn't carry Cedar Key clams, nag the seafood
manager. Costco announces their road shows a few weeks in
advance, so plan to be there on the first day, before they sell out.
Yours truly, the alleged clam expert, foolishly bought a big bag of
clams and stuck them in the fridge a couple of days before going
on a clam tasting trip to Cape Cod. When I got back, I assumed I'd
find a stinking bag of expensive refrigerated garbage, accompanied
by appropriate verbal abuse from my wife; but the clams smelled
I rinsed them off, dumped them in a pot with about a half inch of
water, heated them for a few minutes until the shells opened, and
had some of the best-tasting steamed clams ever (plus clam juice
to use later in clam sauce).
According to the tag, these clams were harvested on 3/21/05; but
they were not eaten until 4/3. They were obviously great quality to
begin with, and we must compliment both Cedar Key and Costco for
their high standards in processing, shipping and storage. Yum!
Whole Foods is an important resource.
Whole Foods Markets was founded in Texas in 1980 and has over 300 stores in the U.S. and U.K.
It says: "We go to extraordinary lengths to satisfy and delight our customers. We want to meet or exceed their expectations on every shopping trip. We know that by doing so we turn customers into advocates for our business. Advocates do more than shop with us, they talk about Whole Foods to their friends and others. We want to serve our customers competently, efficiently, knowledgeably and with flair. We have high standards and our goal is to sell the highest quality products we possibly can. We define quality by evaluating the ingredients, freshness, safety, taste, nutritive value and appearance of all of the products we carry. We are buying agents for our customers and not the selling agents for the manufacturers."
That attitude certainly shows in the seafood display cases. The branch near me, in Milford, CT, has spectacular clams, including some sizes I have not seen elsewhere.
CLICK for All Fresh's stuffed clams and
raw clams, and clam knives, and oyster
knives, and shrimp, and lobster, and
fish, and salads, and caviar and
sauces, and crusts, and and and...well,
you get the idea. You can also call 1 866 WOW SEAFOOD ( 1 866 969-7323)