Clams Casino

Clams casino

Robert Rheault / Flickr

  • Total: 40 mins
  • Prep: 30 mins
  • Cook: 10 mins
  • Yield: 18 clams (6 servings)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
152 Calories
6g Fat
17g Carbs
10g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 18 clams (6 servings)
Amount per serving
Calories 152
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 6g 8%
Saturated Fat 3g 15%
Cholesterol 25mg 8%
Sodium 434mg 19%
Total Carbohydrate 17g 6%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Protein 10g
Calcium 91mg 7%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This classic recipe for clams casino originated in Rhode Island (in a casino, of course) and is now considered a staple of New England cuisine. Although many variations appear across the country, the essential ingredients in clams casino are bacon and a buttery breadcrumb topping that crisps under the broiler.

While these clams may look fancy, they are incredibly easy to make. Not only that, they can be prepared in advance of cooking, and then popped under the broiler just before serving. This recipe specifies littleneck clams, which tend to be quite small, so be sure to choose the largest available. Alternatively, middleneck, topneck, or small cherrystone clams can be substituted. Ideally, the shells will measure 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 inches in size.

Ingredients

  • 18 fresh large (2 1/4 to 2 1/2 inches) littleneck clams (or middleneck, topneck, cherrystone clams)
  • 3 strips center-cut bacon
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons finely diced red bell pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves (minced or pushed through a press)
  • 1/3 cup unseasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/8 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch of table salt
  • Rock salt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 4 lemons, cut into wedges for serving

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Scrub clams under cold running water until the shells are clean (see tip).

  3. Cut each strip of bacon, crosswise, into 6 equal pieces.

  4. In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add bacon and cook until not quite crisp. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, transfer bacon to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb the fat. Set aside.

  5. Using the same skillet, add red bell pepper to the bacon drippings and cook until softened, about 2 minutes, stirring frequently.

  6. Add garlic and cook until soft and fragrant, about 1 minute.

  7. Turn off the heat and stir in breadcrumbs, Parmesan, black pepper, and table salt. Set aside.

  8. Fill a Dutch oven or a heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid with 2 to 3 inches of water. Bring to a rapid boil over high heat.

  9. Add clams, cover the pot, and cook until the shells open, about 5 minutes.

  10. Immediately drain the clams to prevent overcooking. Discard any unopened clams. Let clams cool until they can be handled.

  11. Twist and pull the clamshells apart and remove the clam to loosen its muscle. Place the clam back into the deeper of the 2 shell halves. Discard the remaining shell.

  12. Preheat the broiler to high. Place an oven rack 6 to 8 inches below the heat source.

  13. Spread a generous amount of rock salt over the bottom of a heatproof baking dish. Nestle clams slightly into the salt to stabilize them.

  14. Divide the breadcrumb mixture evenly over each clamshell and top each clam with 1 piece of the bacon.

  15. Transfer to the oven rack and broil clams until the tops are golden brown and crisp, and the edges of the bacon are crisp.

  16. Sprinkle the parsley over the top and serve hot with lemon wedges.

  17. Serve and enjoy.

Choosing, Cleaning, and Storing Clams

To make the best out of your clams remember to:

  • Buy clams that come in a mesh bag and have a tag with the date of harvest on it. Any clams that appear open will close after a few seconds if you tap on them. If a clam doesn't close after tapping, discard it.
  • Fresh clams smell like ocean water and do not carry a pungent smell. If a clam smells fishy, then it's probably not fresh; discard it.
  • Clean the clams thoroughly. Use a hard brush to get rid of any sand and grit. Rinse under a full stream of cold water as you brush the clams to be sure there aren't any small particles that can get in your food and ruin a perfect bite.
  • If you're shucking the clams, put them in the freezer for 15 to 25 minutes before shucking to ease the process.
  • If you're cooking the clams, place them in a shallow pan filled with 2 to 3 inches of boiling water and cook until they open, about 5 minutes. Discard any unopened clams.
  • Good quality fresh clams can be refrigerated for up to two days, but be sure to let them breathe: Place them in a bowl, and do not seal them in an airtight container or bag.

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