January 28, 2015
Clam Diggers ♥ Healthier Snacks with Cabot Cheese Recipe Challenge #AD
I am one who belongs to a growing group of snackers. The ones who could make a meal from the Happy Hour and Appetizer section of a menu. The Nudge just doesn't get it. A snack to him is usually a small bowl of nuts or crunchy cheese nibs or roasted spicy beans. Boring, honey. I have a better idea.
If I was a believer in reincarnation, my ethereal passport would surely be stamped "Spain, land of the tapa".
Cabot Creamery challenged Recipe ReDux members to create healthier and balanced snacks. From finger foods to hearty apps, lighten up your favorite “big game” or red carpet eats for entertaining.
Cabot Creamery is a family-farmer owned cooperative of more than 1200 farms located throughout New England and New York. One-hundred (100) percent of Cabot’s proﬁts go back to their farmers. - Cheddar cheese is a protein-rich snack and naturally lactose free.
"I received free samples of Cabot Cheese mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe challenge sponsored by Cabot Creamery and am eligible to win prizes. I was not additionally compensated for my time."
Since this is the time of year where huge parties celebrate the Super Bowl and Oscars, it is always nice to offer a few healthy snack options for your guests. The best about these diggers is, no one will guess healthy, they will just call them WOW!
Inspiration was to take the best of a baked clam and a clam chowder and spin it into a snack.
I call them Clam Diggers.
This recipe requires a minimal of preparation. Everything is cooked in a 12 piece muffin pan, but these are not muffins or miniature anything, I used the walls of each muffin cup to act as an individual oven, intensifying the heat so that these snacks are baked in ten minutes.
For every dozen you will need, one russet potato at least 2" in diameter (the width of each muffin cup) and large enough to yield 12 (1/4-inch) slices (the amount of cups in one pan).
Spray each muffin cup with a cooking spray (I used butter flavor) and when you turn the oven on to preheat, the pan goes in as well.
Bake the potato slice on one side until they look like the ones to the right (I call them rafts). At 425° and on the lowest rack, it only takes 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and place one square of Cabot Pepper Jack cheese (half a 1/4" slice) on each raft. The residual heat will melt the cheese and anchor the clam patty.
Once in the oven the cheese melts and surrounds the potato with a crisp cheese (frico) shell. Crunchy on the edges, creamy in the middle, briny from the seafood, spicy from the pepper jack and smoky from the bacon. Everything you could want in a perfect bite.
A 1-ounce scoop of stuffing is placed on the potato/cheese raft and an indent is made in the top. That is for the bacon and I even used a healthier turkey bacon. While the bacon renders its flavor to the stuffing, the stuffing flavors the potato raft.
Win-win, simple and easy. Doesn't look like it but these are extremely healthy and can be assembled in advance and finished baking off just 5 minutes before you serve your spread.
Clams? healthy? You bet.
Clams are a low fat, high protein seafood choice with an above average amount of healthful minerals such as selenium, zinc, iron and magnesium and B vitamins like niacin. High in Vitamin C with only a total of 8g carbs per 6 ounces.
There are only 22 calories in a 1-ounce serving of fresh clams in brine and 6-ounces is all that was used to make a dozen bites.
I placed each fritter on a piece of salad for an individual presentation (3 diggers per serving), but for a large crowd, an Oscar Party or a Super Bowl party, place them on a large platter and watch them disappear. Just make sure you have another batch ready. To hold them until game time, place finished diggers on a large cookie sheet, tent with foil and keep them in a warmed oven at around 200° for up to 30 minutes.
These are so good everyone will ask for the recipe.
Let's get cooking.....
makes 12 diggers - 3 per serving
* 4 ounces raw chopped clams
* 2 tablespoons clam juice
* 5 tablespoons dried bread crumbs, flavored, or if unflavored add 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning mix
* 1 tablespoon minced shallot, white parts of scallions or green onions
* 1 large garlic clove, finely minced
* 3 ounces Cabot Pepper Jack cheese, 6 (1/4") slices, cut in half (12 squares)
* 4-ounces Cabot Aged Cheddar or Sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
* 2 tablespoon chicken broth
* 1-2 large russet potato, sliced into 12 (1/4") slices, each 2" round
* 1/4 teaspoon cumin
* 1/2 teaspoon coriander
* freshly ground black pepper to taste, about 5-6 grinds
* 2 slices turkey bacon, cut into (24) 1/2-inch squares
* cooking spray, your favorite flavor
1. Preheat oven to 425°, spray each muffin cup and place the tin in the oven.
2. In a large bowl, add the clams and the clam juice, the chicken broth, the bread crumbs, shallot, garlic, cumin & coriander and stir to combine. Let the mixture rest while you slice the potato.
3. Carefully cut, use a mandolin or V-slicer, the potato into 12 (1/4") slices, use a cookie cutter to make them 2" wide and place them in a bowl of cold water.
4. When preheated, remove the pan from the oven and place one potato slice in each muffin cup. Return to the oven and bake for 5 minutes.
5. Remove the pan from the oven and place it on a trivet. Flip each potato over and place 1 (1/4") square of pepper jack cheese on each potato.
6. Add the grated cheddar to the clam mixture and stir to combine. Scoop a heaping tablespoon clam mixture into the palm of your hand and form into a small patty. Push an indent with your finger, into the center, and place one in each muffin cup (can be frozen at this point).
7. Place two pieces of bacon on each patty and slide the tin back into the oven. Bake for an additional 5 minutes. Remove the pan and carefully place the diggers on a platter. Serve hot.
Frozen diggers: Bring to room temperature at least 1 hour before baking. If you can freeze them in the muffin tin, do so. If not, place one digger in a muffin cup before baking. The cup acts as a wall to stop the patty from sliding off the raft.