New Year’s Eve is the single most superstitious day of the year.
Even if you’re typically a logical, pragmatic person, it’s hard to resist placing some significance on the visible acceleration of time. When faced with a full 365 days of unknown fortune ahead, wouldn’t you want to stack the deck in your favor, just in case? Don’t just raise a glass to good luck; make it a guest at the party by inviting these Plant-Based Baked Clams to join the fun.
What’s The Significance of Clams?
Slang for dollars, round like coins, and known to produce lucrative pearls, clams are strongly associated with property across all cultures. In fact, the indigenous peoples of the Americas used the shells themselves directly as a form of currency. Beyond symbolism, this was literal money harvested from the sea.
That said, you can enhance your luck while preserving your karma by cooking up plants, not bivalves.
How Can You Make Vegan Baked Clams?
The key ingredient is soaked Sugimoto shiitake mushrooms. Rich with natural umami, chopped to approximate the toothsome, chewy texture of diced seafood, it’s a wholly unique creation that no other plant or animal can replace. Koshin shiitake are ideal for their wide, flat caps, but Donko shiitake would also be welcome for a meatier, heartier bite.
Finely minced shallots and garlic are sauteed in peppery extra-virgin olive oil to infuse their savory aroma into the entire kitchen. Caper brine adds a distinctive oceanic salinity, accentuated by the gentle acidity of fresh citrus. Cheesy, buttery nutritional yeast brings everything together with light panko breadcrumbs for binding, toasting to a nutty and crunchy finish.
What Are Variations On Baked Clams?
Consider this formula the classic rendition, simple and elegant, that goes with every occasion. If you want more pizazz and flair, you have plenty of room for creative adaption:
- Clams Casino: Swap the olive oil for melted vegan butter and add 1/4 cup meatless bacon bits.
- Dynamite Clams: Stir in 2 – 3 teaspoons sriracha and 2 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise right before baking.
- Sweet & Salty Clams: Swap the breadcrumbs for crushed pretzels and add 1 tablespoon vegan honey or maple syrup.
- Clams Rosa: Swap the white wine for red and add 2 tablespoons tomato paste. Optionally, add minced fresh basil.
Tips For Success
The best party has food for everyone. That means catering to a diverse range of dietary restrictions, but it’s easy to accommodate with some simple modifications:
- To make this recipe gluten-free, use gluten-free breadcrumbs or coarse almond meal.
- To make this recipe without alcohol, use more mushroom soaking liquid instead of white wine.
- To make this recipe oil-free, use more mushroom soaking liquid instead of olive oil. You may need more than the 1/4 cup listed; watch it carefully and make sure it doesn’t dry out.
Don’t take your chances with other hors d’oeuvres. Shiitake baked clams are bougie on a budget, which means you’re already well on your way to greater fortunes ahead.