Growing up, once a year we would go clamming on the beaches of New Hampshire where we would literally use a long toothed hand rakes to pluck the clams out of the sand. This was no easy task as clams do not live in the soft beach sand that sunbathers put their towels on, rather they are under the hard sand right on the waters edge.
Littlenecks are the absolute favorite of mine and I serve them up as lunch or appetizers all year long. This is a very simple recipe that spurs accolades from all at the table.
- 72 littlenecks
- Brined water and two tablespoons of cornmeal
- 3 8 ounce sticks of unsalted butter
- 4 large shallots finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 cup fresh basil finely chopped, plus six full leaves for decoration
- 1/4 cup fresh chives, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
- Take a large mixing container, fill 2/3 from top with cold water and add 1/3 cup of kosher salt, let dissolve and add clams and the cornmeal, let sit for 20-30 minutes then drain and rinse off clams. This helps these living clams purge the sand out
- Turn your grill on high and close the cover for 15 minutes. add the clams and grill with the lid shut lid for 5 minutes. Lift the lid and remove any open clams with tongs, place in a mixing bowl. Be sure to try to keep the juices on the clam as you place them in the bowl. Repeat the process of opening and closing the grill and removing open clams every three minutes until done. If you have two or three clams that won’t pop, toss them in the trash
- In a sauté pan add the butter and melt over medium+ heat until bubbly, add the shallots, red pepper flakes, basil and cook until translucent, add garlic and salt for one minute then pour over the grilled clams and toss, put in a bowl, sprinkle chives and basil leaves on top. Add more red pepper flakes according to your own tastes