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boil and bake makes the meat tough and tasteless, if possible chuck claims and leave some of the bellies in, as they offer a lot of flavor. Smashing one site does work if you don’t have the tools or fear cutting yourself. You could also put them in the freezer for say an hour and the clams will give up easier. Saltine crackers make good bread crumbs try no salt type if you are heart healthy. Best grinder is those hand held old cast iron ones from the 1940’s for the grind is just right.
I also add diced pimentos
Beth—you are sooo correct –Ritz crackers are not at all what they used to be. Less ingredients—same price or higher.
You can freeze the clams for about 5 hours then run under tepid water. The shells will gape and you can put a regular butter knife in there to twist the shells apart. Put the frozen clam on a cutting board and cut it into about 4 to 6 pieces depending the size of the clam. Put them all in a stainless bowl and let them defrost. Add them into the recipe later and pull them out with a slotted spoon. You can add more liqueur later if you don’t think it’s clammy enough. The clams will be much more tender than being cooked twice!!!
Can I make these ahead and freeze them? If so do I freeze them baked and just reheat them or do I freeze them raw and bake them when I’m ready to serve them?
Hi Donna, very good questions! I honestly don’t know, as I’ve only made them and eaten them right away. If anyone else reading this has a suggestion, please let us know!
These are awesome! Loved by all and YES you can freeze them. They stay very nicely in the freezer for the winter. Take them out frozen, put a pat of butter on top and mirco for about 1-2 minutes depending how many you put in the micro together.
Why not you can buy them in the store that way
I have always used Ritz crackers in these and in Baked Stuffed Shrimp, however, despite claims by Nabisco to the contrary, Ritz crackers are different. They look lighter in color, taste different, and most annoying of all, it is virtually impossible to spread something on them as they immediately crumble. Has anyone used Ritz lately? My Baked Stuffed Shrimp were awful and I haven’t changed the recipe.
Hi Beth, many companies are re-making their classic recipes so that they don’t have transfats (which are terribly bad for us), so perhaps that is what has happened with Ritz?
You would think they would own up to it, then. They are denying any change to the recipe and blaming the breakage on in-store handling. It’s all over their Facebook page. Thank you for the response and for your excellent recipes.
Just made these again when I can home to find kind neighbor Diane left me a few Quahogs in fridge. I sent boys to convenience store for Ritz crackers (yum!) and picked first green pepper from garden to add some sweetness. This recipe is always so helpful, as I forget the steps…Thanks Elise! You, as always, are a gastronomic life-saver!!!
I thoroughly enjoyed reading the comments and various recipes. My wife and I spend time on Cape Cod from April to November and quahoging is one of our favorite activities. By November we usually have 60 to75 stuffies in our freezer and enjoy one in front of the fireplae with a glass of wine during the winter. They also make a wonderful and much appreciated Christmas gift to friends and neighbors.
Along with stuffies we also enjoy chowder year round. We find that freezing cooked quahogs in the cooking liquid works very well. We make a slight variation of the clear broth chowder by adding a small amount fat free half and half. As far as stuffies go our recipe mirrors that of many that commented. Using a combination of Ritz crackers and Italian flavored bread crumbs work well for us, We also add shrimp chopped in 1/4 inch pieces to our gift stuffies. And let us not forget other wonderful ways to enjoy these delicoius gifts from the sea. Raw on the half shell or try mixing some crumbled blue cheese with a little white wine until it becomes creamy and topping them with a dollop then put them on the grill until the cheese starts to bubble. Oh the joys of summer on the cape.
If I bake in a casserole, what temperature and for how long?
Save & reuse the shells. For a quick appetizer, I use a can of minced clams (fast, easy & almost as good)
I’m a RI Native too, raised on the beaches there and though I don’t live there anymore, (I’ve been in FL for years now), reading everyone here from RI makes me home sick for Iggy’s Clamcakes & Chowder, Clams Alfonso from Marchetti’s, Fried Clams from Twin Oaks, Clam Zuppa from Crows Nest … I could go on ツ
To me, these are Quahogs – as our Clams had necks (and are my favorite) though I love them all.
We dug for clams at low tide on a rocky beach where “nests” of them could be found by throwing a rock on the ground hard, to see where they squirted. Then dig and dig fast. No getting wet or jelly fish required… bah!
In any event, I could eat a clam or quahog any day of the week. I moved to a different part of FL recently where there are a lot more snowbirds and I’m finally able to get my hands on some! (Guess I’m in “Gods Waiting Room” now) ツ
Anyway, I’m being long winded (lol) This recipe is close to how I make a “baked little neck” (quahog)” except I use crushed Ritz crackers – (also for stuffing fish, shrimp and lobster too) AND for this recipe, I use baked and crispy, crumbled bacon (I guess in place of the chourico)
Also, we always soaked clams in fresh water and a good amount of bread crumbs for several hours to get the sand out – never used cornmeal – I prefer 4C. (shrug)
Waves to old Neighbors! ♥
My mother on Long Island used to make a version of this she called “Deviled Clams” – with very similar ingredients. There, the big clams were “chowder” clams, the smaller ones were cherrystones and littlenecks.
Put some coarse salt in the bottom of the baking dish to keep the clam shells from tipping over and spilling the buttery juice.
I’d second the notion of a little Sriracha or pepper flakes.
Just an FYI the part of the quahog that is attached to the shell is actually the muscles that the quahog uses to open and close it’s shell not the foot as you mentioned.
i’m from the cape now in florida but still make a great stuffed quahog. never heard theam called stuffie’s. I use ritz crackers as a base also leave the hole clam in the shell onion/diced carrots/red pepper flakes /1 lb diced clams and beacon on top
Very nice. You also need hot sauce, or red pepper flakes. :) Some people also add diced chourico (a staple Portuguese sausage—sort of like chorizo but not really). I personally prefer them a lot simpler. I’m glad you included the real name (stuffies) in your article. No one in Southern New England calls them ‘stuffed clams’. They are either formally, stuffed quahogs’ or, far more frequently in homes and on restaurant menus, ‘stuffies’.
Quahoging is a way of life for some Rhode Islander’s. It amounts to a very significant supplemental income during lay-offs and hard times. My daughter’s boyfriend remembers a time his large family of 7 children lived off the quahogs is father raked for extra income.
They also make the best clam chowder. Recently, my daughter found a lovely purple ‘pearl’ in a quahog.
So as a fellow Rhode Islander who grew up on the water, I have to agree with John use the Ritz crackers you will definately taste the difference!
I have lived all my life in Fall River, MA, and make stuffed quahogs alot in the summertime. One poster’s recipe is similar to mine.
I do soak the quahogs overnight in fresh water to rid them of sand.
Steam the quahogs; reserve the water to soak my stale portuguese bread in. Squeeze as much water as you can from the bread, place in a bowl. I do add a little ground linquica, salt and pepper. I use my food processer to chop the clams; not grind, and add this to the bread mixture.
I chop onion, saute it in oil; once soft, I add wet crushed pepper from the jar, freshly chopped parsley, and a little red cider vinigar.
Then I add the bread mixture to the pan; leave on a very low flame turning over to dry up any excessive moisture in the bread. You do want it moist but not overly wet.
Then I heartily stuff the quahog, close the shell, tie it with kitchen string, and bake for approx.30 minutes at 400 degrees. No need for butter with these babies; they are full of flavor. If you soak your bread in the quahog juice, the portuguese sausage will not overwhelm the flavor of the quahog.
Just a couple of points from an old RI clam digger on your stuffies recipe. You mentioned if you find a dead one in the pot after cooking, to not use it. Well, It’s probably too late to tell if it was dead before cooking at that point. Maybe the smell will make you want to throw out the whole pot!
It’s a good idea to handle and rinse the clams when you are putting them in a pot to steam them open. That’s when you will find any dead ones. The shells of a very weak or dead quahog are usually partly open and when you tap them with a spoon or even your finger, they won’t respond. The smell will usually tell you its a goner! A healthy quahog will quickly close its shell tight.
You mentioned not using the foot of the clam. The foot is the big muscle in the center of the quahog that it uses for digging deep into the bottom sand or mud. It is used in stuffies. I think the part you meant to mention are the two small round muscles that are attached to the shell that hold the shell closed. These are the so called “scallop” muscles of the quahog. They normally fall away from one shell and stick to the other. As far as sand being an issue. Quahogs have very little sand in their systems, most of it settles to the bottom of the steamer pot anyway and is not an issue. Soft shell clams have more sand. A lot if has to do with when they are dug. I have found that If taken on a low tide, or mostly low tide they tend to have more sand. When they are taken on an incoming tide the water is cleaner and they have less sedimentary sand in the gut.
Another truely RI stuffie tradition is to use RITZ crackers instead of packaged bread crumbs. Try it, you will really taste the difference.
One of your readers, Trudy, commented on quahogs not being clams. Well, they are clams. They are hard shell clams. Soft shell clams or “steamas” as we call them, are also clams. There are a lot of types of clams. The soft shell clams generally live in the tidal sand flats at 5 to 10 inches under the sand and do not propel themselves away as you try to dig them. They retract their feeding syphon back into their shell when disturbed. Bay scallops can move away, as they do not live under the sand. They hang out in the eel grass. They propel themselves away by pumping their shells and squirting water, much like a squid moves.
Enjoy your stuffies,
Hi John, thank you so much for the useful information on checking for dead clams, the clam foot, and the Ritz cracker tip! ~Elise
Just reading the comments, saw the one from “Mark”and smiled. He’s absolutely right about using stuffing, it keeps them light instead of turning into a solid lump. I use Pepperidge Farms brand, and crush it up just enough to get the right amount of crumbs. As for linguica, where I’m from (The Vineyard) “stuffers” ain’t “stuffers” without it! Here’a couple tips for yall’, If you’re using chowder quahogs (Gaggers), you might want to discard some of the “bellies” as some of you off-islanders find the flavor too strong. I use “cherrystones”, the meat is tenderer and sweeter. For moistening the mix the broth is fine but some chicken broth adds a nice flavor. You can’t beat a meal of stuffers, chowda, and a piece of fish (or lobster) for one of the best meals you could ask for!!
Yes sausage is great with your recipe. It’s quite like Emeril’s. I have been cooking and eating clams every way you can imagine I’m from new jersey and have great access to all types of clams. The best way to rid clams of sand and mud is to soak them in cold water the clam will clean itself by opening up and allow the sand and mud to be released. depending on how muddy the clam is it might take soaking overnight keep the water iced down and let the clam do the work.