Saturday, January 15, 2011


Today on the menu, we have a couple of delicious stuffed foods: baked clams & mushrooms filled with traditional duxelles.

Wheather you’ve got your seafood legs or are still a little wobbly on the fish eating deck, baked clams is the kind of fish dish that works for most. In my take on the popular appetizer/side dish, panko bread crumb absorbs a flavorful broth of white wine, lemon and clam juice, along with a finely diced mix of sweated shallots, fennel, and red pepper.

These baked clams are a staple on my Christmas Eve dinner table. If you love clams, keep them chunky; and if you like the flavor but the consistency grosses you out, chop ‘em up small! My advice: make it easy on yourself, and get the fishmonger to open up the clams and give you the shells.

Duxelles is basic, go-to, traditional, stuffed food 101. A mixture of finely chopped mushrooms and shallots sautéed in butter—it’s as simple as that. Duxelles can be used to stuff vegetables such as tomatoes and artichokes, and also with meat, fish, and poultry. For my mushrooms, I bought large stuffer caps, and topped them off with grated parmigiano reggiano.

The duxelles recipe provided is from the Culinary Institute of America’s, the Professional Chef. The Pro Chef is pretty much the bible at CIA. Everything you need to know about the art and science of cooking is in there, and if you’re really serious about culinary arts you should own it. I referenced it all through culinary school, and I continue to do so. With a broken binding and dog eared creases on like every other page, it definitely shows.

Baked Clams:

Yield: About 20 Littleneck Clams
- 10 littleneck clams, opened
- 4 tablespoons butter, divided into 2 tablespoons each
- 1 small-medium bulb fennel, small dice
- 2 shallots, minced
- 1 red pepper, brunoise/very fine dice
- 1 cup white wine
- Juice from 1 lemon
- 8 oz plain panko bread crumb
- Salt and pepper to taste

• Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
• Remove clams from the shells and save extra juice. Clean shells and line up on a sheet tray. Chop clams as large or as fine as you like; reserve.
• Melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat in a large, deep skillet; add shallots, fennel, and red pepper and cook until soft.
• Add white wine and lemon juice; bring to a simmer and let cook for about 2 minutes. A handful at a time, mix in panko until all of the liquid is absorbed. Add as much panko as needed. Mix in clams and clam juice, and finish with remaining 2 tablespoons of butter.
• Stuff clam shells with the mixture and bake until slightly dried and browned, about 30 minutes.

Classic Duxelles Stuffing/ Stuffed Mushrooms:
Translated from the Professional Chef, the Culinary Institute of America

Yield: 2 pounds
- 6 ounces minced shallot
- 2 ounces clarified or whole butter
- 2 pounds white mushrooms, cut into small dice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoons pepper
- 8 fluid ounces heavy cream
- 8 ounces fresh or dried bread crumbs such as panko
- Large stuffer mushrooms

• Sweat shallots in butter for 5-6 minutes. Add the mushrooms and sauté them until dry to create a duxelles. Season with salt and pepper.
• Add the heavy cream and summer until thickened. Add the bread crumbs and combine well. Can be used to stuff mushrooms, tomato, and artichokes. Chill well before using to stuff meat, fish, or poultry.
• For stuffed mushrooms: clean mushrooms and remove the stems. Line the empty caps on a sheet tray and fill the mushrooms with duxelles. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until the mushrooms are soft. If topping with grated cheese such as gruyere or parmesan, reserve until the end; sprinkle on top of mushrooms, and bake or broil until melted.


Sandra said...

Oh Marisa that is beautiful! I love your photos, very creative!

Chef Dennis said...

I love those beautiful stuffed clams! and your mushrooms look delicious.
It must have been a great night at your house.

Koci said...

Oh wow! Those stuffed clams look gorgeous, and your descriptions of them have made me seriously hungry! :D

Sommer J said...

These look fab! My son would appreciate the mushrooms for sure. I need to purchase a CIA book soon!

Foodtographer said...

Those clams and mushrooms look fantastic. Great imagery too. Now I'm hungry again..

Elisabeth said...

Baked clams, stuffed mushrooms...yumm! It's calling my name. With appetizers like these, who need an entre?!
Following your blog now, invite you to visit my blog, and follow too!

Lazaro Cooks! said...


Beautifully executed. Both look fantastic. I am a big fan of clams, love your preparation.

Claudia said...

I love this! Your clams are outstanding - a definite "must do." And I won't want for nxt Christjmas Eve. said...

HI Marisa! Thank you for the tip on that book.. I am going to see if I can pick it up used on Amazon.

Both of these appetizers look delicious. My husband adores clams.... I think it is worth the trip to the fish monger! -

Hope you are well Marisa - Megan

Victoria said...

Two classic appetizers, and both favorites of mine. Great job on both, I'd love to hit up a cocktail party with these sometime :)

Luigi said...

OMG they look good, amazingly well photographed as others have said.
Certainly puts my lame efforts to shame. hehe!

Could actually eat a plate of those now, so hungry after reading that. :D

5 Star Foodie said...

Both the clams and the mushrooms look fantastic, excellent!

Evan @swEEts said...

I don't know where to begin or which one looks better.. they both sound absolutely delicious.. I would love to have either sitting on my table in the near future!


Love, love, LOVE baked clams! Both a marvelous dishes!

Rosemary said...

I could easily get stuffed on either (both!) of these. I rarely have the luxury of fresh clams around here, but I'll be on the lookout.

The Mom Chef said...

I need to hire you to host my next party. Both appetizers look fantastic and I'd accept both with open arms, mouth and heart. Yum.

Hester aka The Chefdoc said...

Major LOVE, Marisa! I drool as I look at this post while in my cell bio tutoring session. Well, not really, but, they're really delicious and I'm excited to do the baked clams!