The recipe name itself is deceiving—it is not really a dip per se and although clams are in the recipe it is not the overwhelming taste you notice when trying it. I have made this recipe so many times…and always have requests for the recipe. Its been made by request for family and friend’s BBQs, showers and holiday parties (both summer and winter). Truly it is such an easy and versatile recipe—we generally serve with either Wheat Thins or Frito corn chips but it also goes well with celery or even stuffed in Baked Mushrooms. I have not tried it as a substitute for baked stuffed clams but with minor adjustments it would work well for those short of time.
The original recipe came from a friend named Leeanne who was a neighbor when I was first married. I’m not sure where the recipe originated from but it has not been altered in the 20+ years I’ve been making it. It has become a standard at family parties and has even been adopted by Grandparents and nieces alike for its simplicity. Even ‘day old’ clam dip tastes great warmed up—if there are leftovers.
It’s amazing how certain foods elicit memories of events and places. Is it the smell, the taste or the events that link the food to good feelings (or bad)? For me this recipe makes me feel happy–it reminds me of people gathering together, usually to celebrate, and of being social. I have not seen some of my friends in many years but I can remember the laughter and good times because of the food that we have carried into our present. Perhaps that is the true meaning of comfort food: it brings us closer to happy memories and less stressful periods of our lives.
Hot Clam Dip
1 stack Ritz crackers, crushed
¼ cup (4 TBS) of butter, cut into pieces fro easier mixing
2 cans minced clams, undrained
1TBS each (more or less to taste):
Lemon juice, minced garlic, minced onions, oregano, parsley
Parmesan cheese, grated
Pre heat oven to 350*F
Coat a quart size or larger casserole dish with non-stick spray ( or butter).
Crush and empty stack of Ritz crackers in dish. Top with both cans of clams including clam juice. Add remaining ingredients and mix. Sprinkle top with extra cheese if desired.
Bake in the pre-heated oven for 15-20 minutes or until bubbling and hot. Stir to redistribute butter and spices.
Serve with Wheat Thins (multigrain taste great) or crackers of choice. Also works well with Frito corn chips (scoops) or celery. Try it with your favorite ‘dippers’.