Many varieties of clams are to be found in the Sea of Cortez, including the famous chocolates and patas de mula. For this Mexican stuffed clams recipe, we used the large, yellow-shelled botijones, which have a long, firm white foot, although any type of large, hard-shelled clam may be used.
Clams should be soaked in salt water, either that in which they have been gathered or, if store bought, in a solution of 1/3 cup salt water to one gallon of water, for 3-12 hours. Sprinkling with 1/4 cup corn meal for every quart of clams helps flush out sand Those with open or broken shells, or any that are floating, should be discarded. The following recipe is from the family of Isaac Guadalupe, of Santa Rosalia, Baja California Sur.
- 24 large clams
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/3 cup finely chopped white onion
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded and finely chopped
- 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
- 8 ounces manchego, asadero, or jack cheese, grated
Open the clams by inserting a knife between the shells and cutting the muscle that holds the two shells together.
Cut the meat from the bottom shell and chop it finely.
Scrub the shells and set aside.
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan, add the onion and garlic and saute over medium heat until the onion becomes transparent. Add the tomatoes and cook until they release their juices.
Stir in the cilantro and remove from the heat.
Add the chopped clams to the tomato mixture, stirring well to combine all ingredients.
If the mixture seems too loose, 1/4 cup fine, dry bread crumbs may be added.
Stuff the shells with the mixture, sprinkle grated cheese over each one, and wrap them individually in aluminum foil.
Grill over hot coals for 10 minutes.
If cooking the clams in an oven, omit wrapping them in foil and place them in a pre-heated 375º oven for 10 minutes.
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