Elegant Baked Clams Casino Recipe

Clams casino sounds like something James Bond would nibble on while sipping his shaken-not-stirred vodka martini. Clams casino is one of those dishes from yesteryear that has an origin story that few people can nail down. According to Eater, Julius Keller claimed he created clams casino around 1917 when he worked in Rhode Island at the Narragansett Pier Casino, which was actually a resort and not a casino. Whether or not Keller's claim is accurate, clams casino is still today a popular dish in New England. 

Recipes for clams casino are as varied as the restaurants that serve them. But Kit Hondrum of Kit's Kitchen has developed a recipe that revives the classic version of clams casino. "I lived in New England for a few years," Hondrum says, "and this is a classic dish in that region, seen on almost every seafood restaurant menu alongside 'stuffies.'" Her recipe makes an elegant appetizer or first course that's perfect for a birthday or anniversary dinner, a date night, or the start to welcome in the new year on New Year's Eve with a glass of bubbly. 

Gather the ingredients for elegant clams casino

It all starts with the fresh clams, and they can be littlenecks or cherrystones. "Be sure to check [that] all clams are alive," Hondrum advises, and be sure to "discard any that do not close their shells when gently tapped." When in doubt, toss it out. "Better safe than sorry," Hondrum adds. The recipe calls for 12 clams, but make it a baker's dozen, in case one doesn't survive the drive home from the fish market. 

Clams casino traditionally has three other main ingredients: bread crumbs, bell pepper, and bacon. Hondrum opts for panko bread crumbs because of their extra-crispy texture, and thick-cut bacon, which will exude a bit more fat than regular cut, which is then drizzled over the clams before popping them under the broiler. 

You'll also need a shallot, lemon, garlic, salted butter, dry white wine, Worcestershire sauce, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, parsley, and salt and pepper. Additionally, you'll want to make sure you have some rock salt on hand for your baking dish. Before you start preparing this recipe though, you need to take an important first step with the clams. 

Broil the clams to open them, then shuck them

Scrub the clams well, and then they need to be purged. "Purging the clams means to let them sit in salted water," Hondrum explains, "and purge out any sand and silt that they may have inside." Fill a bowl or jar with very cold, heavily salted water (with the "saltiness of seawater"), leaving enough room for the clams. Gently pace the clams in the water, and allow them to sit for 30 minutes. Sand and silt will collect on the bottom as the clams filter the water through their shells. 

After 30 minutes, lift them carefully out of the water to prevent the sand from rising up. Preheat the broiler, and spread the clams on a baking sheet pan. Broil the clams for about five minutes, or until their shells pop open. Take the clams out of the oven, and let them cool long enough so you can handle them. 

Slide a shucking knife into the clam to separate the flesh from the top shell. Twist the knife to pry the shell open, and twist off the top shell with your hands. Reserve as much of the clam liquid in the bottom shell as possible. Shuck the rest of the clams, and set them aside.

Sauté the bacon and diced bell peppers

Dice four slices of the thick-cut bacon, and add the diced bacon to a skillet. Heat over medium heat, and cook the bacon pieces for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the bacon edges begin crisping up. Dice ¼ of a red bell pepper, ¼ of a green bell pepper, and a small shallot. Add the vegetables to the skillet with the bacon, and sauté for two minutes, stirring to ensure the peppers and shallot are evenly cooked. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon and vegetables to a bowl, and reserve the rendered bacon fat for drizzling over the clams later.

Make the bread crumb mixture, and fill the prepared clams

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine 1 cup of panko bread crumbs, ¼ cup of melted salted butter, 1 large garlic clove that's been pressed or grated, 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley, 2 tablespoons of Parmigiano-Reggiano, 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce, 2 tablespoons of dry white wine, the juice of half a lemon, ½ teaspoon of sea salt, and ¼ teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper. Use a wooden spoon to mix everything together well. 

Spoon the seasoned bread crumbs on top of each clam and gently pack it down with the back of the spoon or with your hands. Transfer the clams to the baking sheet you used to broil them. Spoon the bacon and bell peppers on top of each clam, distributing the mixture evenly. Drizzle a little of the bacon drippings over each clam. Cut the other half of the lemon into wedges for serving.

Broil the clams, garnish, and serve the clams casino

You'll be broiling the clams again, so use an oven-safe seafood platter, skillet, or baking dish. Add 1/2 inch of rock salt in the bottom of the platter (or other cooking vessel), and spread it in an even layer. Arrange the clams on top of the rock salt, which will prevent the clams from tipping over. Turn on the broiler, and put the platter 6 inches below the heating element. Broil on high for five to seven minutes, or until the breadcrumbs begin to brown. 

Take the platter out of the oven, garnish the clams with the remaining parsley, and immediately serve the clams casino on the platter with lemon wedges on the side. "This recipe takes clams to another level," Hondrum says. "[It's] sure to convert even the most adamant clam haters!"

Elegant Baked Clams Casino Recipe
5 from 50 ratings
This elegant clams casino recipe is perfect for a birthday dinner, date night, or New Year's Eve, paired with a glass of bubbly.
Prep Time
15
minutes
Cook Time
25
minutes
Servings
4
Servings
clams casino recipe
Total time: 40 minutes
Ingredients
  • 1 dozen clams
  • 4 slices (6 ounces) thick cut bacon, diced
  • ¼ red bell pepper, diced
  • ¼ green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 small shallot, diced
  • 1 cup unseasoned panko bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup salted butter, melted
  • 1 large garlic clove, pressed or grated
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley, divided
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons dry white wine
  • 1 lemon, divided
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Rock salt
Directions
  1. Fill a large bowl or jar with very cold and heavily salted water. Scrub the clams well, then let them sit in the bowl for 30 minutes.
  2. Set the oven to high broil. Remove the clams from the water, taking care to not lift up the sand that has collected in the bottom of the bowl. Dry the clams, then spread them on a baking sheet.
  3. Broil the clams for about 5 minutes, or until the shells pop open. Remove from the oven, and allow them to cool enough to handle.
  4. Slide a shucking knife into each clam to separate the flesh from the top shell. Twist the knife to pry open the shell, and twist off the top of the shell using your hands. Try to reserve as much of the juices in the shell as possible. Repeat with the remaining clams. Set aside.
  5. Heat a skillet over medium heat, and add the diced bacon. Sauté the bacon for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until it is beginning to get crispy edges.
  6. Add the diced bell pepper and shallot, and sauté for 2 minutes. Transfer the bacon and peppers to a bowl using a slotted spoon. Reserve the bacon drippings.
  7. Mix together in a bowl the panko breadcrumbs, butter, garlic, 2 tablespoons of the chopped parsley, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Worcestershire sauce, wine, the juice of ½ the lemon, sea salt, and ground pepper.
  8. Spoon the breadcrumb mixture on top of each clam, and gently pack it down a bit with the back of the spoon or your hands. Place the clam back on the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining clams. Spoon bacon and bell pepper mixture over the top of each clam, distributing evenly. Drizzle each clam with some of the bacon drippings for extra flavor.
  9. Set the oven to broil again, and prepare an oven-safe seafood platter, skillet, or baking dish by adding about a ½-inch layer of rock salt to the bottom. Spread the rock salt to make an even layer. Place the clams on top of the rock salt.
  10. Place the baking dish in the oven about 6 inches below the heating element, and broil on high for about 5 to 7 minutes, or until the breadcrumbs begin to brown.
  11. Remove the clams from the oven, garnish with remaining parsley, and serve immediately with lemon wedges cut from the remaining ½ lemon.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 415
Total Fat 30.6 g
Saturated Fat 13.8 g
Trans Fat 0.5 g
Cholesterol 74.8 mg
Total Carbohydrates 18.3 g
Dietary Fiber 1.7 g
Total Sugars 3.1 g
Sodium 765.9 mg
Protein 15.7 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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