Monday, October 6, 2008

Mussels and Clams for Opa...

As the days get shorter and the nights cooler, this hearty warm and satisfying seafood combo hits the spot for those who love good ole shellfish. This one is extremely special to me and I dedicate it to my dear Daddy (Opa to many) for throughout his last hours, he appeared to be enjoying this feast with many as he entered the gates of his new home in heaven!

2 pounds fresh clams
2 pounds fresh mussels
1 pound bacon cut into about 1 inch size pieces
1-2 Tablespoons of butter
2 medium sweet yellow onions - sliced
Lots of garlic - 6-8 cloves chopped
1-2 teapsoons of crushed red chili flakes
1/2 to 3/4 cup of fresh chopped basil
Four bottles of beer (I used a wheat)
1-2 bottles of clam juice
2-3 cans of chopped clams
1 loaf of good, crusty sourdough bread sliced in half
Basil/garlic butter - (recipe below)

Rinse the clams and mussels well to rid of any sand and dirt. Make sure to toss any that are already open - these are no good to consume!

In a large enough pot to hold all the above ingredients, fry the bacon till crisp and done. Remove with slotted spoon and set aside. Reserve most of the bacon grease and add about 1-2 tablespoons of butter. Add sliced onions and saute until soft and translucent, about 10 - 15 minutes. Add chopped garlic and cook about 2 minutes. Add the cans of chopped clams (no need to drain liquid) and the bacon you had set aside and stir all together. Add the bottles of beer and clam juice and heat all through. Add the fresh clams and mussels along with the chopped basil...stir all together and place a lid on and turn to about medium heat. Cook until all the clams and mussels have opened - usually takes about 7-10 minutes or so.

Basil butter - Get 1 cube of soft butter, 2 cloves of chopped garlic, 1-2 tablepoons of chopped fresh basil and 1/2 teapsoon of crushed red pepper flakes. Stir all together and slap on that good ole loaf of french bread. Heat in a 425 degree oven until hot and crusty. Slice and serve.

Grab a big bowl along with your favorite brewski or wine of choice and enjoy...I know my Daddy did!!!

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