|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|
|Servings: Makes 18 (serves 6)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 6g||8%|
|Saturated Fat 3g||15%|
|Total Carbohydrate 17g||6%|
|Dietary Fiber 2g||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.|
This classic preparation of clams on the shell originated in Rhode Island and is now a staple of Northeastern cuisine in the United States. Although many variations have appeared across the country, the ingredients that make these clams what they are comprise bacon and a crusty, buttery breadcrumb topping that crisps under the broiler.
Despite the look of it, our recipe is easy to prepare. Make ahead of time and pop under the broiler whenever you're ready to eat. The Littlenecks clams that we use in this recipe are the smallest of clams, amounting to 7 to 10 per pound. You'll need to buy between 2 and 3 pounds depending on the size.
- 18 medium fresh Littleneck clams (about 2 1/2-inches)
- 2 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 3 strips center-cut bacon
- 3 tablespoon red bell pepper (finely diced)
- 3 garlic cloves (finely minced)
- 1/3 cup plain breadcrumbs
- 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese (finely grated)
- 1/8 tablespoon black pepper (freshly ground)
- Pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley (chopped)
- 4 lemons (wedged)
- rock salt (as needed)
Gather the ingredients.
Scrub the clams under cold running water until the shells are clean.
Slice each strip of bacon in 6 equal pieces, 18 in total.
In a large skillet, heat the butter over medium heat. Cook bacon until not quite crisp. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels to drain the fat. Set aside.
Using the same skillet and the bacon drippings, add the red bell pepper and cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more.
Turn off the heat and stir in the breadcrumbs, Parmesan, black pepper, and salt. Reserve the mixture.
Add about 2 inches of water to a Dutch oven, or other heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid. Bring to a rapid boil over high heat.
Once the water is boiling, add the clams, cover, and cook for about 5 minutes, or just until the shells open.
Remove and drain the clams as soon as they open – failing to do so and overcooking them will harden the meat. If any clam didn't open, discard immediately. Allow the clams to cool until they can be handled
Twist and pull the clamshells apart and remove the clam. Place the clam back into the deeper of the two shell halves.
Preheat a broiler to high.
Spread generous amounts of rock salt over the bottom of a heatproof baking dish and nestle the clams on the top of the salt, pressing in slightly
Divide the breadcrumb mixture evenly over the top of each clamshell and top each with one piece of the bacon.
Broil the clams about 6 to 8 inches from the heat source until the tops are browned and the edges of the bacon are crisp.
Sprinkle fresh parsley over the top and serve hot with lemon wedges.
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 seem open will close after a few seconds if you tap on them. If they seem open and don't close after tapping, discard.
- If it smells fishy then it's probably not fresh. Do not eat. Fresh clams smell like ocean water and do not carry a pungent smell.
- Clean the clams thoroughly. Use a hard brush to get rid of sand and grit. Rinse with abundant water while you clean them and 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 yourself put them in the freezer for 15 to 25 minutes to make the process easier.
- If you're cooking the clams, put them in a shallow pan with a couple of inches of boiling water and wait 5 minutes until they're open. Discard any unopened clam, it means it was dead.
- Fresh good quality clams can be kept in the fridge for up to 2 days, but be sure to let them breathe, not in an airtight container or bag.