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Monday, September 26, 2022

Similar to Clam Dip, but with a Touch of Heat and Spice

Canned clams are often a measure of last resort, something to grab for when you have a yearning for spaghetti alle vongole or a warm bowl of chowder but fresh bivalves are just not an option.

It should come as no surprise that the recipe’s main components are cream cheese and canned clams, which are combined, then seasoned with a little bit of cayenne pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and lemon juice. The recipe’s heyday was in the 1950s, so it should also come as no surprise that its primary ingredients are these two supermarket staples. When it comes to a tuna melt, fresh clams are about as out of place as a pink fillet of albacore would be. The purpose of clam dip is to draw attention to the benefits of consuming food from a can.

The majority of traditional recipes are best enjoyed either chilled or at room temperature. But since I have an unhealthy obsession with hot crab dip, I decided to bake the clam and cream cheese combination simply to see what would happen and how it would turn out.

I added grated cheese, which is something you would never see in a cold dip, to give it an attractive gooey-molten texture that helps it pile onto your potato chip in the same way that the crab dip does. This is another tribute to the crab dip. Another advantage of using hot dip is that the clams become tender and flexible rather than somewhat chewy, which is a wonderful difference.

I wanted to give it a little more kick, so I threw in some jalapeo, spicy sauce, and scallions. The proportions specified provide a dip with a robust taste that is not too spicy. You may adjust the amount you apply to meet the level of heat you can tolerate as well as your own preference.

Fish sauce is an ingredient that is not often used and is completely discretionary here. The taste of the dip is particularly elevated thanks to the addition of that heavy amber liquid, which is the very essence of seafood. If you use it, you probably won’t need to add any more salt to the meal since it already has a salty flavour and adds an extra kick of umami.

The flavour of this hot dip, like the flavour of other hot dips, is at its peak immediately after it is removed from the oven. It continues to taste almost as wonderful for about an hour after that, but then it begins to lose its intensity.

If you want to get an early start on your preparations, you may make the dip up to three days in advance and keep it in the refrigerator. As time passes, the tastes blend together more harmoniously, which makes it taste better. The dip should be baked as soon as it is feasible before it is served. And you shouldn’t be too concerned about its temperature: the likelihood of a dip that is this velvety, flavorful, and decadent staying long enough to grow cold is, at best, quite minimal.

Jonathan James
I serve as a Senior Executive Journalist of The National Era
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