The problem with recipes gets down to the problem with any written language—feigned immortality. If the goal is to get the exact same flavor, then you need the exact same ingredients grown at the exact same time after a season of the exact same weather.
Even then you will fail.
Consistent flavor easy to attain with processed foods. Your industrial producers have mastered consistency, but at a cost. (I am not about to knock processed foods—there is an undeniable comfort in consistency and salt.)
My wheat berries grown on a family farm came with an apology for their small size—it was the driest year in decades and well, plants need water. A tomato grown in my garden may taste slightly different than the one from yours. The clams I raked up yesterday are sweeter than the ones I hope to harvest in March.
Recipes are incredibly useful for proportions, for temperatures, for time in the oven—but not so much for ingredients. This one happened mostly by accident—I liked it so I wrote it down, but who am I fooling?
14 top neck quahogs
1 stick butter
1 celery stick chopped fine
1 medium onion chopped fine
1 tsp rosemary chopped fine
Few sprigs of rosemary to flavor the butter
¾ cup panko, though could use a little more (it’s all I had)
Red pepper flakes
Some chopped garlic, not too much
Some dry basil (my parsley patch seems to be gone)
Gobs of Parmesan cheese, to make up for the missing panko
Tiny splash of rosé wine for when your sauté goes south—it’s what was in the fridge, but it worked.
Cook the clams the usual way—simmer until open, chop the innards, save the broth.
Start the stuffing by melting a stick of butter. I like to add a few sprigs of rosemary while the butter melts. I take out the rosemary once it wilts.
Sauté the onions until they’re where you like them, then cool things down with splash of rosé.
Add the celery and chopped rosemary and let simmer a bit. Normally I would add the garlic here, but I forgot, and I think holding off the garlic until the end worked better.
Add pepper flakes to taste.
Dump and stir the panko, and when you realize that you do not have enough, add enough Parmesan cheese to let the whole thing clump together.
Scoop stuffing into half shells, bake at 350 for about 20 minutes.
Serve with some roasted Brussels sprouts and homemade rosemary/garlic bread.