Ric Orlando's Summer BBQ Clams

BBQ Clams in the half shell.

After a long Hudson Valley its time for dinner on the deck.
Nuff said.
One of my fave dishes ever is simple BBQ clams on the half shell.
They take twice as long to prep as they do to eat but it is worth every second.
I have had parties where I am shucking for hours while my guests are slurping up hot, buttery, spicy clams faster that i can cook 'em!
So here is where to start.
Get some fresh littlenecks. Nothing else will do.
Maine clams? Cheap yes, but they suck.
Cherrystones? Too big.
Go with Rhode Island or Long Island Littlenecks.
Trust me.
So you have to shuck them first, just like for clams on the half shell.
Don't cheat and steam them open or you will not have the same dish.
Instead of me showing you, 
here is Rich Vallante, Legal Seafood's executive chef doing a quick shucking video.

Ingredients (serves 2-4)
36 Rhode Island Littlenecks
1/4 lb excellent butter
choice of hot sauces

First thing to do is fire up the grill. If you are using gas, it will take about 10 minutes but if you are using charcoal, it may take 20-30 minutes. We need a HOT grill.
While your grill is heating shuck your clams.
Now here is the easy part.
Melt your butter.
Any butter will do but excellent butter will make for an excellent clam!
If you are using unsalted, add a lil salt to taste.
 Now hit each clam with a few drops of hot sauce. I like simple with Louisiana style sauce for mild, Good Caribbean style scotch bonnet sauce for hot and of course SriRachi for the masses.
A little dab will do ya. Don't kill the clams!
Next spoon on the melted butter.
Be generous. Fill the shells right up.
Now put the clams in the grill carefully. Try not to spill too much butter.

Let the clams grill until they start to simmer right in the shell like this.

When they are sizzling they are done. The clam will turn slightly opaque and that is when you know they are done. Don't over cook them.
And then drizzle on a little more butter, let then cool for a minute and enjoy like Lizzie and I am here!

Oh, by the way, all of that juice that spills in the serving platter?
Drink it! You'll thank me later!


Take it Easy on the Spring Ramps and Fiddleheads

Back in my early days of cheffing--in the mid-late 1980's, there were only a few of us who foraged and bought food from foragers to prepare in our commercial kitchens. We were a colorful club; mostly foreigners, sons and daughters of foreigners and off beat chefs like me who  read and learned of such treasures in well worn books-Gatronomique, James Beard Amrican Cookery, Fanny Farmer, Ma Cuisine...
Fast forward 30 years...Now foraging is fashion... and every chef worth his cool in every city NEEDS ramps and fiddleheads --
so PLEASE abide by these guidelines, or you will be a part of wiping them all out!
Don't over harvest.  We need this years plants to make next years harvest! With Ramps, pull no more than 25% of what you find. If you want to use the greens and pink stem, you can clip up to 75%, but always leave a lot behind to propagate. If you are just a buyer and not a forager, ASK YOUR FORAGER what if they are harvesting sustainably of RAPING the WOODS.
Ramps, are getting scarcer due to the trendy demands, but they can be cultivated given the right conditions.  Google that.
Fiddleheads? Clip above the ground and leave half of what you find..
Or else this will all be just another a chapter in food history...

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