I'm from the Chesapeake Bay area so seafood is my heritage. When buying clams you want clams that firmly shut when touched. If the shell is open then toss the clam away. They do open some when at rest. The important part is that they close when you vibrate them.
Rinse your clams good under cold water and freeze them until you are ready for your recipe. While thawing have them in clean bowl. They will all be open when they thaw out and you want to catch the juice.
garlic chile hot sauce (similar to tabasco but milder and more flavorful)
dried bread pieces (i save my home-made left over bread and crumble it for this dish)
clam juice from clams or bottled
shredded or diced into small pieces sharp cheddar
shredded or diced into small pieces monteray jack
How To Make deviled clams
Slowly saute the onion in the butter but don't brown. You're going for more of a caramelization.
Twist shells apart while the onion is cooking and arrange half of them on a pan that has been foiled or sprayed with oil.
Add liquids to the clams and then lightly mix in the bread crumbs. Let stand 5 minutes. Top the clam shells with the mix and bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes. Try one and if it seems a bit too wet then lower the temp to 350 for another 15 minutes.
Bake 375 for 45 minutes. When they come out of the oven take one and if they seem still real wet give them another 15 minutes at 300 to dry them out more.
If you use cheap bread use more and be sure it's dried before you use it.
These are so easy to make. You can make batches of them up and keep them frozen in the freezer.
You can stretch these out to make more appetizers by filling the shells less. You could easily turn 24 to 30 clams into 40 by using less filling. I like them heaped full but if you were having a party I'd stretch them out.
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