This past summer, we took our vacation camping on Mount Desert Island in Maine, where Acadia National Park is located. It was a fabulous vacation, but one of the best parts was the FOOD! The plan was to rough it sleeping-wise so we could splurge on lobster as many nights as we wanted. (Of course, we love camping anyways, so it wasn’t that much of a compromise!) But one of the most surprising results of this plan was that I ended up getting clam “steamers” as an appetizer most nights, in addition to the lobsters, and ever since, it’s been the steamers far more than the lobsters that I’ve been craving! So we’ve been eating a lot of clams since we got home from our vacation. And this, here, is a set of recipes for two nights of clams for not a lot more money than it costs for one — and certainly not more than you’d pay at a restaurant (outside of Maine!) for a meal.
Night #1: Clam feast
2 bags of fresh clams in their shells
1 bottle beer or 12 ounces white wine
1/2 cup butter, divided
1 teaspoon garlic oil
Wash clams well in cold running water but DO NOT submerge them.
Pour beer or wine in large pot and add garlic oil and 1 T butter.
Bring to a simmer and add clams.
Steam clams until they pop open.
Meanwhile melt rest of butter and place in a small bowl.
Discard any clams that do not open.
Serve with juices from pot poured over clams in a bowl; remove clams from shells and dip in butter to eat them.
Save any leftover pot juices (and clams, if you don’t eat them all) for clam chowder the next day.
Night #2: Clam Chowder with Raw Cream
2 slices bacon, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 cups broth left over from steaming fresh clams (or, if you have none, substitute with extra chicken broth)
2 cups chicken broth
2 medium yellow potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 cans Bar Harbor chopped clams, with juice from one of the cans reserved
2-3 tablespoons butter (you can use any leftover melted butter from dipping the fresh clams here)
2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
freshly cracked black pepper
2 cups raw cream or half-and-half
Hot sauce or sherry, if desired
Add celery, sautee
Add broth, potatoes, bring to a simmer and cook until tender
Add clams, clam juice, butter, chives, and black pepper, heat just until warm enough. You don’t want to heat it past where it is comfortable to place your finger in it. Absolutely DO NOT BOIL at this point.
Ladle into bowls, leaving plenty of room to add cream to each bowl.
You may wish to season with hot sauce or sherry.
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