Posts Tagged ‘clams’
Clams, chopped fine
Pepper (black, white or red)
Cracker crumbs, finely crushed
Liquid from clams
1 or 2 eggs, beaten
Chop the clams fine, and season with pepper and salt. Cayenne pepper is thought to give a finer flavor than black or white; but to some palates it is insufferable. Mix in another dish some powdered cracker, moistened first with warm milk, then with the clam liquor, a beaten egg or two, and some melted butter. Stir in with this the chopped clams. Wash as many clam-shells as the mixture will fill; wipe and butter them; fill, heaping up and smoothing over with a silver knife or tea-spoon. Range in rows in your baking-pan, and cook until nicely browned. Or, if you do not care to be troubled with the shells, bake in patty-pans, sending to table hot in the tins, as you would the scallop-shells.
From Common Sense in the Household by Marion Harland, New York, 1871
Comment: Scallop shells are perhaps the most elegant of the various housing units employed by bivalves, more symmetrical than the shells of oysters or clams. Thus they were often saved for reuse after their original occupants were devoured in other meals. As this was difficult for those who lived any distance from the coastline, small shallow saucer-shaped vessels to serve the purpose instead were made of inexpensive materials such as the tin noted above.
A distinction must be made between cookware described as “tin” and that which was “tinned.” Tin was the Teflon ™ of the 19th century, used to line pans made of sturdier materials. It was vastly easier to clean than plain cast iron and resistant to acids found in vinegar and tomato products.
Like its modern counterpart it wore out under continual use (especially since plastic utensils lay far in the future) but unlike today’s stuff the process of “re-tinning” was easily accomplished by one’s local metalworker or blacksmith.