We are a year-round seafood family (Exhibit A- Christmas Eve’s Seven Fish Feast), but one of my favorite things about summertime is the uptick in our seafood consumption. Clams, shrimp, crabs, shrimp, and pretty much anything else tastes WAY better when cooked and eaten outside.
These nduja stuffed clams would probably be awesome in the oven, but roasting them over a smoky pile of lump charcoal and hickory chips takes them to another level.
A note on nduja. While popular in Italy, this Calabrian treat has made its way over from southern Italy to the US in recent years. In fact, you can even order it on Amazon. It is a soft, spreadable, pork salami that is known for its very distinct, fiery taste. The heat comes from fire roasted Calabrian peppers. Nduja is one of my go-to secret weapons. It adds flavor and depth to everything from eggs to sauces, and can be a great stand-alone treat, simply smeared on some crusty bread.
For some reason, pork and bivalves go together amazingly, and these stuffed clams do NOT disappoint. they are flavorful and have a great little afterburn from the nduja.
Recipe for 8-10 stuffed clams (Appetizers for 3-4 people)
- Two dozen medium sized clams, shucked, shells reserved (I used cherrystones)
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 4oz of Nduja (available at gourmet pork or cheese stores… or here
- 1/2 bunch of parsley, chopped
- 2 drops of liquid smoke (optional)
- 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
- Take the meat out of the shells, being careful to remove any bits of shell that might have broken
- Scrub and then soak empty clam shells in cold water
- Mix the clam meat, garlic, nduja, and parsley in a bowl until well combined. If you are using liquid smoke, add it now. I would recommend only using the liquid smoke if you are oven roasting, not grilling.
- Right before you are ready to stuff the shells, mix in the breadcrumbs. Don’t let this sit too long or the breadcrumbs become mushy
- Stuff the shells with enough mixture to form a small mound in the shell
- Either bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or roast over indirect heat on a smoky grill for the same amount of time. You’ll know they are done when they are sizzling and golden brown.