Chef Mark Denittis, Colorado’s reigning cured meat king, is co-owner of Denver’s Il Mondo Vecchio where he makes fresh and dried sausages and other forms of salumi and teaches whole animal butchery. A native of Worcester, Mass., he writes in his blog:
“One of my favorite summertime memories was going clamming out on the sandbars of Race Point (Cape Cod). This recipe is a twist on a classic clams casino, which is also one of my Uncle (Godfather) Mike’s Christmas favorites.”
Il Mondo’s products are sold through numerous local shops and markets. For more details: mondovecchio.net.
Clams Casino Portuguese
2 dozen cherrystone clams
1/2 pound butter
4 tablespoons minced shallot
3 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 small red bell pepper, finely diced
1 small yellow bell pepper, finely diced
2 tablespoons sherry wine (dry, cream or sweet)
1 4-ounce stick Il Mondo Vecchio Portuguese Style Longanzia, sliced on the bias
In a bowl allow the butter to soften at room temperature. Fold in the shallots, parsley, sherry wine and bell peppers. In wax paper or parchment paper lay out the softened butter mix. Roll into a 1.5- to 2-inch-diameter log and freeze or chill. Shuck (or have someone else shuck) the clams removing the “top” shell. Remember to slide your knife along the underside of the clam to free it from the “bottom” serving shell, as well reserve as much juice as you can in the shell half.
Slice 1/4 inch medallions of the maitre d’ hotel-style butter you just made and top each of the clams with the medallion. Top the medallion of butter with a slice of Longanzia. You can also fine dice or pulse Longanzia in a food processor and mix directly into the butter. These can be done outside on the grill on medium to high heat to melt the butter and render the flavors of the smoky paprika in the Longanzia. Makes six servings.