Day: September 24, 2007

Tapas Tuesday

tapas image Okay, so I love raw clams but I’m not really fond of raw oysters so I decided to swap them out when I saw Paula Deen’s recipe for Oyster Shooters.  And since I don’t drink (anymore) I skip the Vodka but they still taste awesome and make a great recipe for Tapas Tuesday not to mention they’re a great source of protein with 11 grams of protein in every 3 ounces of clams!  Woo-Hoo!

oyster shooterVirgin Clam Shooters:

photo courtesy of Food Network – Paula Deen’s Oyster Shooters

It’s really a matter of taste, but I like to use whole raw clams simply because I think they taste awesome fresh from the shell, but you can use whole or chopped canned clams.  You can also add a splash of Vodka to each Shot glass after you add the clams, then top off with some cocktail sauce and a lemon wedge.

What You Need:

1 Dozen Top Neck or Little Neck Clams – and their juice*

2 Lemons cut into wedges (each lemon should give you 6 wedges)

Cocktail Sauce (you can make your from scratch, but I like using Bookbinders or Klotchners)

Tabasco – Optional

Oyster Crackers – optional (I like to munch on these between shots – check back next week when I give you an awesome way to prepare Oyster Crackers as a Tapas!)

Serving Size:  3 per person                                                                      Total Servings:  4

Shot Glasses (but if you’re in a pinch, you can use Dixie Bathroom cups and the bonus of using these is no glasses to wash – just shoot it and toss it! – I like the Sponge Bob design!)

* Tip on shucking your own clams from–  first clean the Clams by scrubbing the shell with a stiff brush. Then soak the Clams in salt water for about 20 minutes to allow them to expel sand. Adding cornmeal (optional) will encourage the Clams to purge dark stuff from their stomachs and will whiten their meat. Per 1 gallon (4 liters) of water use 1/3 cup (4 oz / 115g) of salt and 1/4 cup (2 oz / 50g) of cornmeal. Drain, repeat two more times. If any Clams float to the top during the soaking, discard them.
Before trying to open Clams, refrigerate them for an hour to relax them, or freeze for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from freezer or fridge, let sit 2 or 3 minutes. As they warm up again, they’ll relax their muscles and the shells will open a tidge, which is all the opening you need. Insert the end of a blunt knife into the Clam shell, and twist it to force the shell open. Be very careful when shucking Clams, as the knife often slips. Some people buy special Clam knifes, and keep a pair of work gloves in the kitchen to make it safer.  Don’t discard the juices inside; this is called “Clam Liquor”.

Now, if shucking clams is not your thing, sometimes your local seafood shop will shuck them for you and put them in a container – just make sure you ask them to save their juices as well!  Or you can opt for canned clams.  Whole or chopped are good to use and both work well.

How to Prepare:

If you are using glass shot glasses, you can frost them by placing them in the freezer on a cookie sheet for 20 minutes and take them out just prior to serving.  Line the cookie sheet with wax paper to prevent the glass from sticking to the sheet.

Place a teaspoon of clam juice in the glass, then add 1 raw clam and a teaspoon of cocktail sauce, then top it off with a lemon wedge.  If you like things on the spicy side, hit your clams with a dash of Tabasco before topping it with cocktail sauce, or just leave the bottle on the table for everyone to use as desired.

If you opt for canned chopped clams, drain the clams but save the juice.  Add a few teaspoons of cocktail sauce to the clams then add some of the clam juice.  The consistency should be like a chunky salsa, not too thick and not too runny.  Cover and chill in the fridge.  When you’re ready to serve up your shooters, add your clam/sauce mixture to the shot glass and top off with a lemon wedge.  

Let your guests know take their lemon wedges and squeeze the juice onto their shooter just before doing their shot – yum yum yummy!

Now I said before that I love raw clams so I could easily do a dozen of these myself – so if you’re like me, triple the recipe!