Cook's Note: The Mexican chocolate
clam, so-called for its brown-colored shell, is the largest West Coast bivalve
. Reaching up to 6 inches across, the clams are very popular all along the coast of Central America. If Mexican chocolate clams are unavailable at your local store, you can use any other high-quality clams
(still in their shells).
For the dressing: Put the mayonnaise, mustard, cilantro, onions and jalapeno in the recipient of a blender
until creamy. Season with salt and pepper.
For the salsa: In a bowl, mix the tomatoes, chile, onions, lime
zest and juice, cilantro and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. If you like things spicier, put everything through a meat grinder
, or a blender, and grind it up. Keep in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
For the refried beans
: Heat the lard
in a heavy frying pan
over medium heat. Add the onions
and saute until softened and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and chipotle pepper and continue sauteing for 1 minute.
Add a ladle of cooked beans and, using a masher, start mashing the beans. Once the first spoonful of beans has been mashed completely, keep adding more beans and repeating the process. The unique taste of refried beans occurs as a result of slowly frying the starches inside the beans in the lard, so you want to add the beans a little bit at a time, to make sure they all get good and fried.
Once all the beans have been mashed, add a little bean liquid or water, until you get the texture that you want. Keep it a bit looser than you eventually want, as they will continue to firm up as they cool off the heat. Season with salt and pepper. Keep warm.
For the clams: Scrub them under cool running water. Discard any gaping clams that don't close when cleaned.
Set the clams on a BBQ grill over a solid bed of hot coals or over high heat on a gas grill. Close the lid on the gas grill
. Cook the clams until they pop open, 6 to 8 minutes.
Serve with a spoonful of the dressing
, the salsa and refried beans. Garnish
with lime wedges.