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clam dip

Is there anything better than a really great dip? Okay, obviously there are many things better, but there are definitely occasions where busting out a phenomenal, unique dip can make or break a party...Superbowl Sunday anyone?

There are a couple of crab dips that are delicious, but most seafood preparations that are "dippable" are referred to as salads: think tuna salad, whitefish salad, etc. I wanted to do something a little different than the classic Maryland hot crab dip, but keep it a hot dish, and utilize some of the same flavors. Well, Fulton Fish Market insisted that I take home a few pounds of littleneck clams (that's my story and I'm sticking to it!) and thus, this clam dip was born! If you can't get your hands on live clams, absolutely go for jarred clams (whole or chopped!) just make sure to give them a good rinse before using, and add some thyme to the dip part of the recipe.

I say that this serves 2 to 4 people, because it is very rich, but it only makes about 2 cups of dip. Depending on when you want to serve this in your meal, feel free to double, triple, or quadruple it! Just keep in mind that you don't have to double, triple, or quadruple the number of beers needed to steam the clams, but you may as well buy them and drink while you cook!



serves 2 - 4

For the clams:

1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

4 each garlic cloves

1 Tbs thyme leaves

1 c beer of your choice, room temperature

1 lb littleneck clams, purged

pinch kosher salt

For the dip:

1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp unsalted butter

3 each garlic cloves

1 tsp ground mustard

½ tsp paprika

1 Tbs lemon juice

½ tsp worcestershire sauce

6 oz cream cheese

¼ c mayo

1 Tbs chives, chopped

For the top:

½ c panko

½ c cheddar, grated

1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

1 Tbs chives, chopped (optional)

Microplane or finely grate all garlic, keeping the two amounts separate. In a large pot, heat the tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and sweat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle in the thyme, and sauté for another minute or so, again until fragrant. Pour in the beer and bring to a simmer, then season with a pinch of salt and gently dump the clams in. Cover and steam until they open, about 5 minutes, then remove the pot from the heat.

Allow the clams to cool in their cooking liquid, then remove all meat from the shells. Save the cooking liquid to use in other recipes!

Preheat a high broiler.

Finely chop the clams. In a large skillet, heat the teaspoon of olive oil and butter together. When the butter has melted, add in the rest of the microplaned garlic. Let it sweat over medium low heat for a couple of minutes, then add in the chopped clams, ground mustard and paprika and stir to combine.

After about 2 minutes, when you can smell the spices, pour in the lemon juice and worcestershire, and bring the heat up to medium. Stir in the cream cheese and mayo, allowing everything to melt together. Continue to stir occasionally for a few minutes, until the dip is thoroughly combined and bubbling slightly. Stir in the chives.

In a small mixing bowl, combine the panko, cheddar and olive oil, and stir until everything is mixed well.

Transfer the dip to ramekins, and sprinkle the panko/cheddar mix over the top. Place under the broiler for a few minutes until the breadcrumbs are golden. Finish with the remaining chives, if using, and serve with crusty bread, chips or crackers.

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