Guac, salsa, queso, sure, these dips rock, but my Mom makes a damn tasty clam dip that's a little less mainstream. "It's usually for company, or in the fall," she explained. "I make it almost always around the holidays. It's great for New Year's because it counts in the Feast of the Seven Fishes. It's a party food."
She's been making this clam dip for 20 years, and she said it's something, "people always, always like. It's a Super Bowl food." Twenty years of people enjoying something is a pretty good track record. To me, this is one of those perfect examples of tradition versus technique. Reviewing the recipe, I'd say, given classical training, I'd hold back the clams 'til the garlic and onions were translucent. But, know what? As my Pop says, "I've never heard anyone complain about that."
He's right. This dip is great on thin crackers that don't take up room in your stomach, so you can eat more clam dip. We like Waterthins' Fine Wafer Crackers or 34° Crispbread. So, where did the recipe come from? It's one of those legacy recipes Mom said probably came from something she read, but until now has just been written on an index card in a plastic red box in the kitchen. Now you can use it too. Thanks, Mom.
- 1 stick butter, melted
- 2 cloves of garlic, pressed
- ½ onion, minced
- ½ cup celery, chopped
- Two 6 ½-ounce cans of chopped clams, drained (reserve liquid!)
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 tablespoon oregano
- Tabasco, to taste
- ¾ cup Italian breadcrumbs
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan, plus more for sprinkling
- Pinch of paprika
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Melt the butter in a pan. Add the garlic, onion, celery, and clams. Sauté until the onions and garlic are translucent. Add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and the reserved liquid from the clams. After 5 minutes add the parsley, oregano, Tabasco, breadcrumbs, salt, pepper and the 2 tablespoons of Parmesan. Toss and put into a casserole dish or bake individually in foil cups (as pictured). Sprinkle with more Parmesan and the paprika. Bake in the oven for about 15-20 minutes if in a casserole dish or 10-15 minutes if in foil cups or until golden brown on top.