It’s hard not to be impressed with the creative ways the foodservice industry is adapting to our current situation. Locally it’s not just restaurants offering curbside pickup and delivery service, several seafood companies have gone direct to consumer, offering fresh caught fish, lobsters, scallops, and now…stuffed clams!
I was recently notified that Eclectic Clam, a favorite at the local farmer’s markets and events, was offering no-contact delivery of their stuffed clams to Cape Ann this week. Although available for curbside pickup, the drive to Amesbury seems a little far considering the stay-at-home order. The price seemed right, it helps local business, it supports our local seafood industry and I’m not about to go making “stuffies” from scratch at this point.
My grandmother used to make amazing stuffed clams, which I attempted to imitate when I ran a small cafe, but it’s been decades and I’m rusty. Maybe when life returns to something we all would call normal I will attempt my own stuffed clams…possibly with low FODMAP ingredients.
About Eclectic Clam
Eclectic Clam is the father and son team of Greg and Jeff Farrenkopf out of Amesbury, Massachusetts. They make their signature stuffed clams, along with a soon to be released fish cake, at the Kitchen Local shared commercial kitchen in Amesbury. You can usually find their stuffed clams at various events and farmer’s markets in Essex County. In fact, I recall seeing their booth last year at the 2019 Gloucester Schooner Festival down at Maritime Gloucester.
With farmer’s markets and possibly even the Schooner Festival on hiatus, Eclectic Clam is now offering curbside pickup as well as a rotating schedule of delivery to various local communities.
I missed their previous visit to Cape Ann (Essex, Gloucester, Manchester-by-the-Sea and Rockport) but I got in early for their next delivery by ordering online.
Eclectic Clam’s “Stuffies”
Eclectic Clam uses freshly harvested “cherrystone” sized hard shell clams and two varieties of stuffing mix, one with chorizo. I had my cooler and ice packs ready as they suggested and they showed up in the afternoon. My order consisted of four one-pound packs, each having two stuffed clams. They came nicely vacuum sealed and solidly frozen. I put two packs in the refrigerator to thaw overnight.
When it was time to cook them, it was as simple as lining a small roasting pan with foil and taking the stuffed clams out of the packaging. Even before the hit the oven Eclectic Clam’s stuffies looked and smelled excellent. I just followed the instruction on the packaging, which said to place them in a 400F oven for about 15-20 minutes.
About halfway through the cooking time the kitchen was filled with the aroma of clammy goodness. Pardon the paraphrase, but I love the smell of seafood stuffing in the evening, it smells of…dinner. In 16 minutes I served these beauties nestled beside a pile of roasted cheddar baby gold potatoes and prepared for a seafood dinner of minimal effort and maximum flavor.
The Verdict On Eclectic’s Stuffed Clams
The clams were densely packed and full of that classic New England flavor you find in the best of the old-school seafood restaurants. The difference is with two stuffed clams you get almost an entire meal, they are seriously packed. If you like lots of lemon, like me, you will be doing a lot of squeezing. I don’t like bell pepper, and there was plenty, but I knew that going in. As long as I can taste the clam and the other flavors, its not a problem. They were delicious, ’nuff said.
The wife and I were in agreement: Eclectic Clam makes a fine “stuffie” – both delicious and filling. If you live within their delivery area, you can’t go wrong with some stuffed clams in the freezer.
Whether its dinner in quarantine or prepping for the day we can entertain again, Eclectic Clam can have a killer appetizer or dinner ready in no time.