Why Waste Perfectly Good Bacon Grease?
So I was at the ‘real’ grocery store the other day; I don’t go there very often because I do 75% of my food shopping at Tran’s Market. Anyway, whenever I do go I usually stop by the fish counter because I love seafood, but I like to eat it the day I buy it. So I picked up some Haddock, and then I noticed they also had these beautiful creatures called Mahogany Clams in the display.
They have a thick shell like a quahog and similar size, but much more beautiful. I asked the guy about them, and he said that he didn’t know what they were like, but probably good, not very good sellers because people didn’t know what they were. A ringing endorsement.
I live in Maine; apparently we don’t like to try new things here. I asked if they were local and he said he thought so, pretty much all their shellfish is local. And they were 15 cents a piece! Cents, my friends. There was even a little cents sign. Remember the good old “c” with a diagonal line through it? I was sold.
I picked up a dozen and a half.
My plan was to make clams casino, which I had never made, but knew contained bacon. I looked up a bunch of recipes and the common theme was mix some stuff with butter, cook your clams until they just open, put the butter mixture on top with a bit of already cooked bacon and broil until brown. Something about throwing out all that perfectly good bacon grease and then using a bunch of butter just didn’t make sense to me, so my version of bacon-y good mahogany clams casino after the jump.
Mahogany Clams Casino
Do it yourself, or get someone to shuck your clams for you (thanks, Caleb), preserving as much of the liquor as possible. The liquor is where all that delicious oceany goodness is—yum. You can steam them to open them up, but I think you loose a lot of flavor, plus you risk over cooking when you broil.
Set up you clams on the halfshell on a baking sheet covered with crumpled foil, to help keep them from sliding around. Caleb, my husband, did all this hard part while I did the rest.
For about 18 clams: Cook 5-6 slices of nice farm bacon, should still be a bit soft because it will crisp up in broiler. You’ll only need about 3 for the clams, but you want enough for 5-6 Tbsp of grease. Cool the grease in the fridge so it just starts to set up (this step may not be necessary). Chop up about 15 water chestnut slices, one whole roasted red pepper and a couple of mushrooms. Also 1 clove crushed garlic. Mix this up with your bacon grease along with fresh ground pepper, Thai chili, lemongrass powder, wasabi powder and ginger powder. Add some panko and some grated parm and some lemon juice. Mix it all up.
Top each clam with a spoonful of the mixture, an extra sprinkle of panko and parm and a square of bacon. Broil until bacon is crisp and breadcrumbs brown.
Serve with lemon wedges.
These were amazing. I think the mahoganies really made it. Tasted a piece of one on the halfshell, too, and it was a magnificent clean oceany flavor. I’m headed back to get some more for a chowder tomorrow.
Pairs nicely with a good quality tequila served with Meyer lemon wedge. Meyer lemon and tequila are a match made in heaven. TRY IT.