by Louise Ayer
I have such fond memories of clam dip. I can remember my brothers and I lying on our tummies on the rug in our living room watching TV in the sixties with a big bowl of clam dip that my mom had just mixed up and brought to us on a tray with potato chips.
I find it is a cook’s best friend to serve when you have a group of people cooking together. I have seen it transform a group of people who want to help, but are perhaps tired or overwhelmed by a party. It sparks their energy.
Clam dip is easy to make, creamy, clammy with a little salt and that wonderful umami taste, which is, if you are not familiar, one of the five basic tastes; sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and Umami. Umami is earthy, like in soy sauce, and in clam dip represented by Worcestershire Sauce.
When my mom made it she served it with ridged potato chips, which is absolutely delicious, but I have come to prefer it with the slightly sweet, cool crunch of carrot sticks and celery sticks.
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
2 7-ounce cans minced clams (Bar Harbor is a good brand)
1 cup sour cream or 4 tablespoons plain whole milk Greek yogurt
½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons onion juice (see Cook’s Note)
1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ cup clam juice, reserved from can
Ridged potato chips
Cook’s Note: Onion juice is made by grating an onion over a bowl and then putting the grated onion in a small sieve over a bowl and squeezing it to catch the juice. It takes approximately one medium onion to produce two tablespoons of onion juice.
Drain the clams and reserve the juice. Put the cream cheese and sour cream or yogurt in a bowl. Whip until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. If you want a thicker dip, omit the sour cream or yogurt and add two 8-ounce packages of cream cheese. If that is too thick for your taste, add more of the reserved clam juice.
You can serve clam dip with ridged potato chips, or my favorite, carrot and celery sticks.