Stuffed Clams Recipe

Most New Englanders have three categories for the Atlantic hard-shell Quahog clam. Little necks, usually eaten on the half-shell with cocktail sauce, or cooked in various ways and served with pasta, are the smallest – usually about 1-1/2 inches in diameter. The next size up are called cherrystones, and they average 2-1/2 inches in diameter. The largest are called quahogs, which is derived from the Narragansett word “poquauhock”, and they are thick and about 3 inches in diameter or more.

Many recipes for baked clams exist in New England. Our Marketing Director, Paul Williams, hails from Lil Rhody and offered up his preferred recipe for stuffed clams. It uses cherrystones and includes a combination of both Italian and Portuguese ingredients that are readily available in southern New England.

Ingredients (serves four)

16 cherrystone clams

1 cup of bread crumbsPublic domain image, royalty free stock photo from www.public-domain-image.com

½ cup of chopped large Bermuda onion

½ pound of Chourico sausage

1/3 cup of Pecorino Romano cheese

1 tsp. of dried oregano

¼ tsp. of black pepper

3 tsp. of butter

2 tsp. of olive oil

Directions: I would recommend using cherrystones that are as close to 2-1/2 inches in diameter as you can find. If larger, you will have to increase the quantities of ingredients listed for this recipe to make enough stuffing.  Fish markets in New England will let you select the ones you want.  As you open them in preparation for stuffing and cooking, the clam meat inside will be cut in half. I scrape the clam meat from one side into the other, so 20 clams would make 20 half-shelled stuffed clams. Open them over a bowl to catch the clam juice, as you can use it in the stuffing as it flavors the stuffed clam.

For bread crumbs, I like to make my own, using dried Italian bread.  If available (and it is in many southern New England markets), you can use dried Portuguese sweet bread or muffins.  Leave it on the counter to dry for a day, and then chop it in a food processor. Use enough to make one cup of bread crumbs.

Chourico sausage is also available in most New England markets. If you can’t find it you may use Andouille or Italian sausage, as long as there is some spice and/or a bit of heat.  I take about a half pound of Chourico (remember to remove the casing first) and grill or cook it in a skillet. After grilling, finely chop in a food processor and set it aside.

Finely chop half of a large red Bermuda onion. Hand chopping is best, not in the food processer, as you don’t want it to liquefy.

Steps:

- Open the clams. Save the clam juice. Place the opened clams on a cookie sheet or baking dish.

- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

- In a large pre-heated skillet, add the olive oil and when the oil is hot, add the onion.

- Once they are translucent (about 4 minutes) add the chopped sausage, mixing with the onion while the sausage heats for a couple of minutes.

- Add the butter to the sausage/onion mixture and as soon as it is melted, remove from the heat and add the bread crumbs, pepper and oregano.  Mix all. Add whatever clam juice you collected. If mixture is really dry, add just a bit of water as you don’t want to stuffing to be soggy, but a bit moist so it can be formed is fine. Once fully blended, mix in the cheese.

- Top each clam with an equal portion of the stuffing mix.

- Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until clam is cooked.

- Serve with lemon slices, as a touch of fresh-squeezed lemon juice adds a lot.

Great Sculptures of Europe

Many VBT vacations to Europe include stops in cities with world famous museums – either on the trip or on our optional pre- or post-trip extensions. We wanted to provide a list for you of some of the great sculptures that you could see along your journeys. Some are masterpieces that cannot be missed and some are lesser known pieces found in places other than artistic meccas like Paris or Rome.

“Apollo and Daphne” by Gian Lorenzo Bernini (Galleria Borghese, Rome)
ApolloAndDaphneThis life-sized Baroque marble sculpture, commissioned by Cardinal Scipione, was created between 1622–1625. The sculpture portrays the story of Daphne and Phoebus in Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Although the sculpture may be viewed from every angle, Bernini intended it to be viewed from its side, to let the viewer see the reactions of Apollo and Daphne simultaneously.

 “David” by Michelangelo (Galleria dell’Accademia, Florence)
DavidThis masterpiece of Renaissance sculpture – and possibly the most famous statue in the word – was created between 1501 and 1504 by the Italian artist Michelangelo. The statue represents the Biblical hero David glaring off in the distance with a sling around his shoulder, perhaps a sign that he is intensely waiting for battle. This is in contrast to many depictions of David after he slayed Goliath.

“The Kiss” by Rodin (Museè Rodin, Paris)
The KissThis marble work was inspired by the passionate love affair between Paolo Malatesta and Francesca da Rimini made famous in Dante’s Divine Comedy. The sculpture depicts the 13th-century Italian noblewoman falling in love with her husband’s younger brother, Paolo. The lovers’ lips are not actually locked in the piece, suggesting that they were interrupted – and furthermore, killed – by Francesca’s husband Giovanni, without their lips ever having touched.

“Pluto and Proserpina by Gian Lorenzo Bernini (Galleria Borghese, Rome)
Pluto and Proserpina
This large marble piece was completed the year Bernini began Apollo and Daphne and depicts Pluto, the commanding god of the underworld, abducting Proserpina, the daughter of Ceres – the Goddess of the Earth. Bernini develops a twisting pose by pushing Proserpina’s hand into Pluto’s face and you can see her hand crease his skin as his fingers simultaneously sink into her flesh.

“Venus de Milo” by Alexandros of Antioch (Louvre, Paris)
Venus De Milo
The “Aphrodite of Milos” better known as the “Venus de Milo”, is an ancient Greek marble statue created sometime between 130 and 100 BC. The statue represents Aphrodite (Venus in Roman), the Greek goddess of love and beauty. The famously absent arms are believed to have shown the right arm lowered across her torso as to hold up the sliding drapery while the left remained outstretched, holding an apple.

“Fontaine des Quatre-Saisons” by Edme Bouchardon (Rue de Grenelle, Paris)
The Fountain of the four seasonsTranslated as “The Fountain of the four seasons”, this monumental 18th-century public fountain is still located in the streets of Paris. The fountain is huge and richly decorated and although its grandiosity irritated Voltaire and other figures of the French Enlightenment, the fountain is the best surviving example of public architecture during the reign of Louis XV.

“Bronze David” by Donatello (Museo Nazionale del Bargello, Florence)
Bronze DavidThis statue of David, which pre-dates Michelangelo’s by over 60 years, is known  for being the first unsupported standing work of bronze cast during the Renaissance, and the first freestanding nude male sculpture made since antiquity. It depicts David, posed with his foot on Goliath’s severed head just after defeating the giant.

“The Veiled Christ” by Giuseppe Sanmartino (Museo Cappella Sansevero in Naples)
veiled-christ-Lenghtwise
Sanmartino’s Veiled Christ is one of the greatest sculptures of all time. Since the eighteenth century, travelers of all levels of distinction have come to contemplate this artistic miracle and the oft praised finesse of its veil. Legend has it that famed Venetian sculptor, Antonio Canova, once said he would have given ten years of his life to have been the sculptor.

“Sculptures of the Night Watch” by Alexander Taraynov (Rembrandtplein, Amsterdam)

Night WatchAlthough Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum houses Rembrandt’s famous painting, The Night Watch,  Russian artist Alexander Taratynov created a bronze-cast representation of the painting as part of the celebration of the artist’s 400th birthday in 2006. In 2009 the sculptures traveled to New York City and Russia to be displayed before returning to the redesigned Amsterdam square where they serve today as a magnet for visitors.

“Salt Celler” by Cellini (Kunsthistorisches Musieum, Vienna)
Salt CellarCellini’s Salt Cellar table sculpture is crafted from ivory, gold, and vitreous enamel and was completed in 1543 for Francis I of France. The piece depicts Neptune and Ceres – symbolizing their unity in producing salt, mined from the earth. It is sometimes referred to as the “Mona Lisa of Sculpture” due to its famous theft in 2003. It was recovered three years later.