Stuffies at Portu-Galo, East Providence

Portu-Galo has opened a local food truck that is reported to be excellent and carries everything from bifana with the pork cutlet to stuffies which come highly recommended ("order the stuffies -- these Rhode Island's icons are some of the best we've had")Also recommened is Seafood Inc. Pawcatuck. 

Peter Huoppi/The Day A fresh batch of stuffed clams at Seafood Etc. in Pawcatuck 

Lunch In Rhode Island: Stuffies, The Only Way To Eat A Quahog

Happy New England regional specialty Friday!

A truly authentic Rhode Island stuffie tastes like clam and breadcrumbs, and nothing more.
I absolutely love discovering regional specialties involving ultra-fresh seafood! I was recently enlightened by the Baltimore crab pretzel, I even made my own semi-legit version in Test Kitchen. Last week I reconnected with a friend from high school who spent a few years on and off in Rhode Island, and was turned on to the stuffie. It involves the quahog, king of chowder. And quite frankly, I just plain like saying it.
So you take your giant clam, shuck it, retain the juice, chop and mix with bread or cracker crumbs and a little extra clam juice to moisten, then return to shell. Bake, add a squeeze of lemon and consume. That's a stuffie and that sounds awesome. I usually suggest a little trio or so of variations, but I don't want anything else in or on that. Maybe a little hot sauce, the mild stuff. Red Devil, at most.
That said, there are many variations still very much worth eating. Some mix sautéed onions and celery, cherry peppers and/or sausage with the clams before returning them to whenst they came to get crispy. Portuguese stuffies, courtesy of the large Portuguese population in Rhode Island, involve chouriço (relative of chorizo) and green peppers.
Any sort of battered or breaded and fried seafood is truly sacred to those who have spent time in New England, and this is no exception. While it's no clam belly on the beach, I can definitely see creating a variation on this for our next Test Kitchen. There's nothing like a great stuffed clam-related schooling.