From a tiny BEACH kitchen:
Clams casino became a favorite of mine when my brother Billy would dig clams on Martha’s Vineyard. Billy would come back to the house with a pail full of cherrystones. We would spend “some time” at the kitchen counter shucking these open. I always passed the hardest ones over to Billy to open. Sometimes you just have to let the calms “rest” and forget you are nearby.
Note to Non-Shuckers: Read below to find out the easiest way to open the clams without worrying about cutting your hand off during the process.
Once you get the hang of opening the clams, it becomes a competitive part of making the dish, and making some fun memories too. ~Sheryl
- 18 Medium sized cherrystone or littleneck clams
- 2 TBSP unlsalted butter
- 3 Strips center-cut bacon, each sliced into 6 pieces (18 total)
- 3 TBSP finely diced red pepper
- 3 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 1/3 cup plain breadcrumbs
- 1 TBSP finely grated Parmesan
- pinch of salt
- freshly ground pepper
- 2 TBSP chopped fresh parsley
- lemon wedges
- Rock salt (or Kosher salt)
Heat butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add bacon and saute until cooked but not quite crisp. Transfer bacon pieces to paper towel. Reserve butter in pan and add red pepper and saute 2 minutes. Add garlic and saute 1 minute more.
Turn off heat and stir in breadcrumbs, Parmesan, pinch of salt and pepper. Reserve until needed.
For those of you who do not know how to “shuck” a clam, I will give you the easy way out :
Add about 2 inches of water to a pot. Bring to rapid boil. Add clams and cover. Cook for 2 minutes. Pull out open clams. Cover and cook another minute. Pull out open clams. Repeat until all clams are opened. It’s CRITICAL to remove the clams as soon as they open. Allow clams to cool until they can be handled. Twist and pull the clamshells apart and remove the clam. Place the clam back into the deeper of the two shell halves.
Spread the rock salt in a baking dish. Set the clams on top of the salt and press down slightly. This will keep the clams from moving and spilling out their contents.
Spoon the breadcrumb mixture evenly over the top of each clamshell.
Top with a piece of bacon.
Broil on high until tops are crisp and brown ( 4- 6 minutes).
Sprinkle on fresh parsley and serve while hot with lemon wedges.
This salad receipe I made recently for a family party and it instantly became a huge hit. I must give credit to Rita for sharing this one with the gang. Rita helped me get the dressing combination perfect (originally, I had too much vinegar). The photo shows how beautifully the color combinations look on a buffet table.
- 1 Package (approx. 6 oz.) Mixed Greens
- 1/2 lb. Fresh Strawberries, sliced for the salad (plus an additional 1/3 cup strawberries to “mash” for the dressing)
- 2 Kiwis, peeled and sliced
- 1/2 cup chopped Walnuts
- 1/2 cup Olive Oil
- 3 TBSP Balsamic Vinegar
- 1 TBSP Sugar
- Feta Cheese, 1/2 cup, crumbled or diced (buy imported, if you can find it. It is the best! We use “Doondis” feta)
For the Salad:
The listed ingredients above will make a salad large– enough to feed 4-6 people. I made a huge salad for my family party and had to triple the dressing (that is where I got myself into trouble and Rita bailed me out!)
Wash and spin, or, hand dry the greens and lay on a pretty platter. Slice the strawberries and kiwis to put on top of mixed greens.
Chop the walnuts until they are in small (but not tiny) pieces. Put walnuts in a hot frying pan and toast. Be careful not to burn the walnuts– when they start to give off an aroma, turn them over and off heat. Layer toasted walnuts on top of fruit.
Sprinkle feta cheese on top of the salad. (use as much or as little as you like. I like a lot!)
For the Dressing:
Combine 1/3 cup of mashed strawberries (a food processor does a nice mashing job). Add the oil and vinegar. Add the sugar and hand stir until the granules dissolve.
Pass the dressing to guests if you are seated for the meal; or place dressing in a pretty bowl beside the salad if you are serving a buffet. Enjoy!
Note: Please do not “dress” the platter of salad all at once. The greens will quickly become soggy.
I had this beautiful salad in Greece while climbing to the Acropolis in one of the many cafes on the side of a mountain. The area is fondly known as the PLAKA, which means “fun” in Greek, and they are not kidding! Many Greeks go there to celebrate special times or just for a bite. I go where the Greeks go- as they know where the best foods are to be found. Nobody is ever disappointed at a Greek cafe. They compete with one another to MAKE THE BEST OF EVERYTHING!!
If you are making this at home, it is important to try to buy Imported Greek Feta as the cheese makes all the difference in the world. I have brought this to many dinner parties and everyone has enjoyed it as much as I have. I hope you do too. KALI ORAXI EVERYONE!!
Note: The ingredients are simple but it is important to select the best veggies wherever you shop. For instance not just any tomato will do. Of course right out of your garden tomatoes are the best but we are not there yet. Vine ripe tomatoes work perfectly as do the long English seedless cucumbers.
Ingredients ( Serves 6):
- 4-5 vine ripe tomatoes cut into chunks (nice ripe ones)
- 1 English Cucumber, unpeeled, cut in half lengthwise and sliced crosswise
- 1/2 large red onion thinly sliced
- 1 medium green pepper very thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup capers rinsed and drained well
- about 24 pitted Kalamata olives left whole
- 1/2 pound really good imported Feta sliced into 3 1/2 inch slabs
Layer all ingredients and top with slabs of Feta. Dress the salad with a mixture of EXTRA virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar. Sprinkle lightly with oregano, salt and freshly ground pepper.
A tasty twist to pesto…add bacon. Really delicious and so easy!
- 4-5 leaves fresh basil
- 2 (small to medium sized) cloves of garlic
- 1 cup of olive oil
- 4 strips of bacon (I like the fully cooked bacon, less grease)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 box (14.5 oz.) Farfalle pasta
- 1 cup grape tomatoes
- Fresh parmesan cheese to top it off!
Using a food processor, add the basil, garlic, oil and bacon (cooked until crispy) until blended. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Boil pasta until tender.
Add pesto to pasta and toss. Add tomatoes, sliced. Top with fresh grated parmesan.