Life in a Northern Town

Cherrystone Clams & Chorizo

It was a fruitful trip to Duluth—fresh Cherrystone clams from the grocery store and chorizo from Northern Waters Smokehaus. About once a month I head to Duluth to stock up on things I can't get around here: anything and everything from the Smokehaus, good butter from Mount Royal, shampoo and cocktail napkins from T J Maxx and my favorite soap from Waters of Superior. On this particular excursion to the big city, I was on a mission to find crab legs and stumbled upon these beautiful and sturdy looking clams in the seafood department. They went right into my cart and by the time I hit the checkout, I realized— short of chowder, what on earth was I going to do with 6 pounds of clams?

As luck would have it (since this was an excursion), I had 1 1/2 hours to think about it on my way back to Bayfield. At about the Brule River, I thought stuffing the clams seemed like the right direction to take— it most likely would benefit from butter and wine, it was easy and I have a family who will eat most anything (even clams) if there is some sort of sausage involved. I have to admit, I wasn't sure how it was all going to play out but I suspected it was going to be worth eating. Turns out, not only was it worth eating, those stuffed clams were seriously pretty— some of the shells had the most beautiful, deep purple edge.

Cherrystone Clams Stuffed With Chorizo (Adapted From Monahan's Seafood Market)

8 Cherrystone clams
2 tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 tbsp onion, chopped
4 tbsp parsley, minced
2 tbsp basil, minced
1 tbsp oregano, minced
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 of a red pepper, chopped
5 tbsp Parmesan, grated
1 1/2 c (or so) bread crumbs
1 egg, lightly beaten
4 ounces chorizo, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preparation
Steam clams in 1/4–1/2 inch of water until they just begin to open. Remove meats and save the shells. Finely chop the clam meats and set aside.

Place the butter in a large sauté pan and heat until the butter is foaming over medium high heat. Sauté chorizo, celery, garlic, onion, herbs and red pepper until chorizo is cooked and the vegetables are softened. Add the wine and continue to cook for another couple of minutes. Combine in mixing bowl with chopped clams, parmesan, lemon, egg and mix in the bread crumbs until the mix holds together in a ball in your hand. Taste for seasoning and stuff the 8 shells. Bake at 375° for about 10–12 minutes or until nicely browned. Serve immediately.