Flexibility, this is a virtue that I appreciate in my family, friends and recipes! If you don’t have flexibility, well life would just be a very difficult journey. As I’ve commented on for like, ’forever’, there’s nothing like a dish that has a foundation that allows for versatility. When I write a new recipe this focus is always on the forefront of my early planning. Before I started teaching at the culinary school full time I can’t say I was real astute at this process. I remember the first time I cooked with Diane McMillan. Diane was Senior Food Editor for Midwest Living Magazine. The recipe she was going to demo had something like 12-14 different variations! There were around 7 versions of savory for her foundation muffin recipe. Likewise with the sweet adaptions of the dish.
With the clam dip presentation there’s going to be plenty of ‘give’ in the outline for your creative skills. Clams can have a rather interesting texture, so for starters consider blending them into a smooth pate. Crabmeat and smoked seafood would also compliment a new version of this seafood dip.
As seafood spreads go, I usually go with a mix of cream cheese and sour cream as my base or I use cream cheese and a small amount of mayonnaise. The green onion inside the spread could be replaced with a finely minced red onion. For spices consider using fresh or dry dill. For more variation consider smoking the seafood. I do this a great deal with trout and salmon.
The interesting thing about seafood dishes is how much better they taste the day after they are made. Take Oyster Stew, for example. I don’t eat this soup, but I certainly know how to make it! According to my grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles and cousins this dish always tastes best the next day. The seafood dips and spreads will be pretty much the same thing.
Fish and seafood are comparable to grass fed beef versus grain, etc.
The water that surrounds the fish will have an enormous input in the flavor. If you aren’t buying into this try catfish from the ole’ Mississippi River and then head south to the Ozarks! The Mississippi cat will have a stronger flavor and a rather muddy taste. The Table Rock catfish will put you into a tailspin because you will have a hard time figuring out if you’re eating a bottom feeder or not!
Time out, gotta’ run to my kitchen to check on a dish. OK, the cream of broccoli soup came out just fine. Now where were we? Ah, yes, back to creatures in the water. Remember to keep a good balance of fish in your diet each week. One thing we have to continually work on with our youth is introducing them to local fish species. It’s a bit like the non-vegetable eaters we encounter. You can fry, bake, grill, poach, sauté and more with fish and seafood. I’ve even been known to make tuna burgers at my house. Oh that reminds me, I need to get to work on my new ‘trout cake’ recipe. If the folks on the coast can have their phenomenal crab cakes then we can have ours!
You get a line and I’ll get a pole honey, you get a line and I’ll get a pole babe. You get a line and I’ll get a pole, I’ll go meet you at the fishing hole, honey, baby, mine.
Come on Jerry let’s go catch some fish! Enjoy my friends, Simply Yours, The Covered Dish.
8 ounces softened cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1 minced garlic clove
1 minced green onion
1 tablespoon minced flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon sweet smoked Spanish paprika
1 – 1 1/2 cans drained minced clams, reserve the juice
Reserve some of the clam juice in order to make this dip into a nice dipping texture. Mix everything together and serve. I recommend softening the cream cheese on low in the microwave in order to achieve a smooth blend. Bake pita chips or any of your favorite dipping chips will accompany nicely.
For flavor purposes it is my opinion that this dip is better when made the day before the event. This was prepared for a friend who dislikes clams so I grabbed my submersible blender and made the dip nice and smooth. This way the texture of the clams didn’t bother her and she enjoyed the dip.
This recipe originally came from Sunset Magazine, June 2012