Yesterday afternoon, about two and a half hours before dinner with my daughter, the oven on low at 250 degrees, a foil-wrapped package was put in it to slowly warm and meld the flavors of the filling within a partially-hollowed out round loaf of artisan sourdough. I took a shortcut, bought the bread.
I’d wanted something with bread to go with the fish chowder for dinner and there’d been a can of clams on the counter for two weeks begging for use after I’d rescued it from the back of the cupboard just in the nick of time. Two seafoods, one dinner, why not? So, some cream cheese and a few other things mixed with those clams and some of their juice made a lovely filling. Popped it in the bread, then wrapped it well in two pieces of foil which can be reused, and the result was a delicious accompaniment to the chowder. The clams lose their normal, rubbery texture, become one with the creamy goodness as the other ingredients break it down and the flavor pops.
The leftovers? Cut in half, plenty of filling still there to be warmed in its own bread, even a bit in celery, a couple clementines, a few raspberries (on sale at the moment!) and Formula 1 qualifying for the Brazilian Grand Prix tomorrow, it was a good afternoon. Well, except for the part where my U.W. Huskies lost their game today.
Clam Dip Baked in Sourdough Boule – Serves 4
1 smallish 6″ base round loaf of sourdough bread (could use French or Italian, sturdy)
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 can clams in their nectar (use about 1/2 the nectar. More if you dare.)
1/2 medium onion, grated (I used yellow. It caused plenty of tears, but … determination!)
1/4 t. salt
2 t. Worcestershire sauce
juice of a lime (it was around 1 T. Lemons would work; I had none.)
Tabasco sauce to taste (I used about 8 drops. It could have taken plenty more.)
- Turn on oven to 250. Cut two pieces of foil sufficient to cover bread entirely.
- Stir filling together very well. You want it plenty moist, but not soupy, so add the amount of clam nectar to reach dip/filling consistency. Your choice.
- Cut top off bread, saving it, then cut around the inside of it to about one inch from the sides and bottom. Pull that bread out, leaving a well. Save the bread for later.
- Put the filling in the well you’ve just made, put the top on the bread, wrap it in the foil, one piece over and down, the other under and up. Cover it well.
- Pop it in the oven on the middle rack for at least two and a half hours, maybe three. The bread will not harden and the filling will get hot.
- Just before serving, either toast or warm cut up the bread scooped out for a few minutes in the oven. Provide extra toasted bread cubes or crackers and some big chunks of celery stalks, and you’re on your way to lovely appetizer or a sports watcher’s snack time.
- It it’s for an appetizer, serves 4. After dipping is done, cut it in four chunks. Divine.
- If there’s only two people and some is leftover, it reheats well. (Ha! See this post.) My daughter had her half of the leftovers for breakfast. Her choice. She didn’t complain.