Friday, August 31, 2012

Stuff 'em if ya got 'em! Quahogs on the Vineyard

Now that Labor Day is around the corner, I thought it time to post about my new favorite summer recipe from Martha's Vineyard this year.  We had the most beautiful spot on "The Spit" this summer, with great neighbors to boot.  (This IS relevant to the recipe.)  The first day we arrive, my hubby sends me over to our new neighbors house to ask if they're using their beach chairs.  I said, "Honey, they're renting a BEACH house, don't you think they're using their BEACH CHAIRS!?"  But I guess he thought I could sway them, he's got a lot of faith in me, or at least in my bikini...
Well, as it happens, the amazing couple staying at this beach house were not renters, like we expected, but the actual owners, Gail and Bruce Kissell, and they had a FULL house, with their grown kids and most of their grandkids, so yes, indeed, they would be needing their beach chairs, but so nice to meet you anyway!  We knew immediately we'd be getting along very well.  And Henry was oh-so-happy, play dates for two weeks!  I did NOT get the beach chairs I wanted, although Bruce did hand over a couple of "crappy-ass" ones, his words, not mine...but we ended up getting a whole lot more.

Henry's new bud, Finn, the smile says it all.
Everyday, Henry would run over to Finn's, or Finn and his sister, or cousins, or any of the numerous relatives really, would come over to our place, or we'd convene on the beach.  We would give the kids lunch, or Henry would make sure he was over there when Gail was handing out yummy popsicles, or even better, a full meal.  The Kissells were so incredibly generous, (except where beach chairs were concerned, of course), always inviting Henry to stay over for dinner, and just as steadfastly, sending him on his way when it was time to bring the long summer day to a close.  (Henry thought he was VERY grown up, walking the 20 yards home on the beach by himself, as the sun was setting.)
One morning, sweet Bruce dropped off a bucket of Quahogs, a shellfish abundantly found in the warmer coves of Cape Cod.

Bruce said, "The family went clammin', and these were the leftovers."  He had a way of loving you and slapping you at the same time, it was very endearing.  This is the cove they got the Quahogs from, just out our front door, not bad, huh?

Note:  No warning signs....yet
No biggie that in the next day or so there was a sign posted about the bacteria levels in the cove, "NO CLAMMING!" but we chose to ignore that, and, well, none of us got, I didn't want Bruce and Gail to think I was a wuss.
'Course being from Detroit, I had no idea how to stuff a Quahog, so in typical (we were old friends at this point) Bruce-fashion, he appeared on our porch with a lemon and some homemade spicy cocktail sauce.  The timing was perfect, I had just steamed the Quahogs, following Bruce's directions exactly, only letting them open a touch to ensure their tenderness, and pre-heated the oven to 400 degrees.

Steamed to a tee
Being a novice, I needed some lessons on shucking.  That's when we got busy.  And when I say "we," I mean Bruce.  He cracked these babies open like a pro, and I, well, watched.  Then I scraped and pulled all the meat out of the shells and cleaned 'em up for proper stuffing, removing as much grit and slimy stuff as possible.

The Shucker.
It's the Vineyard, clothing is often frowned upon.
I sautéed some garlic and onions, threw those in the Cuisinart, along with the steamed Quahog meat, lemon juice, cocktail sauce, herbed bread crumbs, salt and pepper.  Chopped it all up together, placed the clean shells on a baking sheet, and spooned the stuffing into the shells.

serious work
I baked these for about 15 minutes, until they were nice and brown.  Squirted a little lemon juice on top, with a splash of Tobasco sauce, and we could NOT stop eating these, until they were nice 'n gone.

A Vineyard delicacy
I could not have done this without my new pal, Bruce, and could not have had NEARLY as much fun on this vacation if we had planned it with our closest friends.  To all the Kissells, all gazillion of you, thank you for the best two weeks ever, and here's to next summer!


1 comment:

  1. I have been trying to describe my father for years. Being his son, I have had many chances to do so, but your description is the best. "He had a way of loving you and slapping you at the same time, it was very endearing". This is my dad in a nutshell, or Quahog shell.

    Great Seeing you guys this summer. Lets do it again. Best to all.