So the only way to determine if my clam pie was successful, was to take it up to the boys at the club. The boys are all over 60, locals of the east end and don’t take shit from anyone, and they sure like to give it… I was a little nervous, but they had had a few beers, and were hungry. And hunger makes the best sauce. I wanted Ed E. to taste it; I was looking for comments and suggestions. We were seven, and the pie was demolished in about ten minutes. It was a success and I get comments from others who were not there: “hey when you gonna bring up another pie?” One of the guys, a clam/lobster bake caterer now retired (and a Bonacker to boot), asked what kind of clams I used. I said hard-shell, and he suggested a mix of the soft shell clams along with the hard-shell. The idea being that belly of the steamer clams adds a sweetness. He said to chop up the necks and edges and add those with the hard shell clams. Then insert the bellies by hand to create little pockets of sweetness. He did say that it was the best clam pie he had in years. Thanks Joe!
I have made a couple since the first one, and used traditional pie plates, but they are inferior to the deep dish, which adds an unctuosity because of the additional filling.
The Ladies Home Journal piece arrived and it was a delightful little article. It too advocated the use of mixed clams.
Clam pie is a lot of work, but well worth the effort.