Friday, June 15, 2012

Baked Razor Clams with Garlic and Fontina Cheese

Every week I go to Eataly in Manhattan and always leave with something fresh and different. Razor clams are hard to find so if you have the opportunity to get them, you should. They are tougher in texture than regular clams, which you could also use so cooking time is very important but, they are worth the effort.

4 fresh/live razor clams
2 ounces good quality fresh, thinly sliced ham, 1/4 inch dice, no packaged stuff, you want real ham
One large garlic clove, finely minced
1 Tbsp of minced Italian parsley
2 Tbsp of good quality extra virgin olive oil, plus 1 tsp for drizzling
Pinch of sea salt
Pinch of red pepper flakes
One or two turns of freshly ground black pepper, optional
1 1/2 ounces of good quality Fontina cheese, sliced thinly or shredded
1/2 a bottle or so of beer or 1/2 cup white wine
Juice of 1/4 of a lemon or to taste

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Clean your razor clams thoroughly by running under cold water and rubbing any grit off. Dry and set aside.

In a skillet just large enough to hold clams bring beer or wine to a boil and add clams, cover and steam for literally 30-40 seconds tops until they open or they will be tough at the end. Remove quickly from skillet and discard liquid.

Clams will be hot so use a towel to pick them. Open shells up all the way and remove clam meat. Put opened shells on a baking sheet.

Line up clam meat horizontally and dice into 1/4 chunks. Place chopped clams in a small bowl, add ham, garlic, parsley, extra virgin olive oil, red pepper flakes, ground black pepper and pinch of salt. Mix with a spoon to incorporate all ingredients.

Distribute clam mixture evenly on the four open shells, distribute cheese over mixture and place in oven  until cheese is just melted but not brown. This will take approximately 7-10 minutes but obvioulsy every oven is different so keep an eye on it.

Remove from oven, garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and a squirt of lemon and serve immediately of cheese hardens up when cold.  Can be served with a salad and some bread and you have a meal. I also liked the clam mixture as is, don't add the cheese, just toss in a squeeze of lemon and put it on a crostini rubbed with garlic and olive oil and it is delicious. So give both a try and enjoy!