Clams casino is a delicious dish featuring clams served on the half-shell. Ingredients in the topping include bacon and breadcrumbs. This originated in Rhode Island and it is often served as an appetizer in New England. There are different variations of this recipe. In New Orleans it is made with oysters instead of clams. Bacon is always used though, since the salty meatiness of it gives the recipe its distinctive flavor.
Cherrystone or littleneck clams are used to make it, and butter, garlic, bell pepper, bacon, salt, white wine, onion or shallots, lemon juice, and Worcestershire sauce are added also. Parsley or tabasco sauce might also feature in a clams casino recipe. This recipe can be broiled or baked and you can use smoked or unsmoked bacon, depending on preference.
This recipe was developed in 1917 by a maître d’hôtel in Rhode Island. The venue in question was the Little Casino in Narragansett, and the dish was named after the hotel. In the early 1900s, restaurants would invent baked seafood dishes in order to impress diners, and this was a big deal in that era. Oysters Rockefeller and clams casino are seafood dishes tasty enough to have survived until now on their own merits.
- 18 medium littleneck clams
- 3 finely minced garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon finely diced green bell pepper
- 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoon finely diced red bell pepper
- 2 tablespoon unsalted butter
- ⅓ cup breadcrumbs
- 3 chopped center-cut bacon strips
- Rock salt, as needed
- Lemon wedges, to serve
- Heat the butter in a skillet over a moderate heat.
- Add the bacon and cook until almost crisp but not quite.
- Transfer the cooked bacon to a plate.
- Add bell pepper to the bacon drippings and sauté for 2 minutes.
- Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
- Turn off the heat and stir in the salt, breadcrumbs, parsley, Parmesan, and black pepper.
- Put a couple of inches of water in a big pot with a tight-fitting lid, and bring to a boil.
- Add the clams and cook covered for 5 minutes or until the shells open up.
- Remove and drain the clams as soon as you see them open (this is important!)
- Let them cool a bit, until you can handle them. Pull the clamshells apart and take out the clam.
- Place the clam back into the deeper shell half.
- Spread some rock salt over a baking sheet, and arrange the clams on top, pressing down a bit.
- Divide the breadcrumb mixture over the top of each clamshell, then top with some chopped bacon.
- Broil 8 inches from the heat, on high, until the tops are browned and the bacon edges are crisp.
- Serve the clams hot with some lemon wedges on the side.
Whenever you see bacon and butter together in the same recipe, you know it is going to be good, and then when you also spot clams, you will start to get very excited about the dish. Clams casino is a recipe which is nearly a century old, and it has stood the test of time because of its magnificent flavor. The photo shows you how colorful and appetizing these little bites are, and this dish is simple to put together. If you are looking for a classic clam recipe, then this one is sure to impress everyone with its beautiful flavors and timeless appeal.
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