Clams Casino

IMG_9769
I have a friend who just will not share her recipes.

She protects them as if they’re classified information….and…. I guess, “classified information” is the perfect description, because she will not, and probably never will, share. Zipped lips. Key thrown away. Top Secret. She knows I’m talking about her right now, because we laugh about this all the time…and she also knows it drives me crazy, because I’m all about sharing recipes.. I always tell her that I would definitely give her the “shout out” if I made one of her recipes to take to a party or wherever, that I won’t take the glory for myself…but nope. She won’t cave.

I couldn’t wrap my brain around this “top secret” business.
Until now.
And I realized that she’s no dummy.
She knows what she’s doing.

There is no doubt that we all love her recipes because they are so top secret, and they’re not readily available to us. We get to enjoy her recipes when she prepares them, which isn’t all that often, because it’s usually a party or get together….so it’s a special treat…

She knows that we’re going to be all excited…

And we are going to rave and gush all over her and her food…
And that makes my friend… and her food…the stars of the show!!

Genius.

IMG_0958

One of my favorite things that she makes is her Clams Casino. What she doesn’t know is that when she would bring them to a gathering, I would dissect…I would study….I would analyze… I would make mental notes…

And after agonizing over these clams… it hit me.
Make your own.
So I did.

IMG_9762

My Clams Casino is nothing like my friends recipe, and that’s ok. It’s just a basic recipe. It’s simple, and it’s delicious in its own way. And it’s mine to share. With all of you.

And in keeping with my theme…it’s so simple to make! You can actually have them made in under an hour! The red pepper with the shallots and garlic blend so well with the bacon and clams…a hint of wine in the background… and wait…is that Romano cheese? Why, yes…yes it is!!! All with that little squeeze of lemon at the end just makes all of those flavors together pop with every single bite you take…

Simple…. Yet complex.

So…I’m bringing my Clams Casino recipe to Angie’s Fiesta Friday, to share with all of you… I hope you stop by Angie’s blog, The Novice Gardener. It’s an awesome blog, so well written, and after reading a couple of her posts, it will be as if you’ve known her all your life! This is the 11th week that Angie has hosted this party, and it just keeps on growing! It is so awesome how many talented and wonderful people have joined in on the fun!

Life is good. It’s a “friends who force me to create my own recipes, but I love them nonetheless, and always will” kind of good…

IMG_9766

Clams Casino
Makes 24 Clams Casino on the Half Shell

Just a quick note: I am far from a pro when it comes to cooking clams….and I admit that when I first started steaming, broiling, grilling, etc..clams, I was very nervous. I was afraid that I would give everyone food poisoning…but following a few tips that I found online really helped… First, Don’t be afraid to be picky when you’re buying the clams from the seafood department. Unless you’re buying a bag of clams, make sure that they’re picking the cream of the crop for you, with no cracks or chips, and that they’re fully closed. Second…if the clam is open a little, tap him…. If he closes back up promptly..then he’s alive…meaning…he’s good. If he stays open, I wouldn’t even take the chance, so discard him. Keep them refrigerated. And once they’re all steamed / broiled/ grilled… if there are any clams that have not opened, discard them.

IMG_0953

14 Cherrystone Clams (Technically 12, but I buy a couple extra in case they don’t open when cooked)
½ pound bacon, diced
2 tbsp reserved bacon grease
4 tbsp butter, melted
1 sweet red pepper, finely diced
3 shallots, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp white pepper
1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
¼ tsp cayenne
½ cup dry white wine
Clam juice from broiling
3 cups fresh soft breadcrumbs
3 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
2 tbsp Romano cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh lemon wedges

Begin by cleaning the cherrystones. Rinse them thoroughly. I’ll usually put them in a large bowl with very cold water, and stick the bowl in the refrigerator. This will give the clams the chance to spit out any sand or grit that may have gotten inside. After about 30 minutes to an hour, drain the bowl of water, and refill with fresh cold water. Refrigerate. After the second soaking, I’ll usually scrub them with a kitchen brush.

Cook the clams with your preferred method. For this particular recipe, I broil them, because I like to use the juice from the clams that is left on the baking sheet after they’ve cooked. Preheat the broiler to high. Place the clams on a large, heavy baking sheet in a single layer. Place under the broiler, and broil for about 10 minutes or so, until the clams have opened completely. Just when you start to wonder if they’re ever going to open, they all start to gracefully pop open….

Remove the baking sheet from the oven… reserving the clam juice that has dripped into the pan. Remove the clam from inside the shell with a spoon. Place on a cutting board and finely chop. Gently twist the clam shell at the hinged side to separate the halves. Clean any remnants of clam from the shell. Set the shells aside aside.

In a large frying pan, cook the bacon until crisp. Remove the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels, and set aside for now. Discard all but two tablespoons of the grease. Add the finely diced red pepper and shallots to the frying pan with the two tablespoons of bacon grease. Sauté until softened; about five minutes or so. Add the garlic; and sauté for another minute or two until softened.

Add the wine to the shallots and garlic mixture, and simmer until it’s reduced to about half…about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and add the chopped clams, breadcrumbs, ½ of the bacon, the reserved clam juice, melted butter, parsley, white pepper, Old Bay seasoning, cayenne, Romano cheese to the wine reduction. Mix thoroughly. If you think it is a little too crumbly, you can add another tablespoon or so of melted butter until it meets your desired consistency. Salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon the clam and breadcrumb mixture onto the clam shells. Top with remaining bacon. Put under the broiler for about 5 minutes or until the bacon is sizzling and the top is golden brown.

Serve with lemon wedges.

Enjoy!

IMG_9769

Advertisements

52 thoughts on “Clams Casino

  1. Secrets, in my opinion, don’t belong in the kitchen! Well, I’m rather amused by it honestly. I had a friend years ago (he was from Italy and barely spoke English) who wouldn’t even allow me in the kitchen while he was cooking. Funny, he’d have us over for dinner and make us stay out of the top secret kitchen! His cooking was out of this world good and I used to get so frustrated in my own kitchen trying to recreate his pasta’s and just couldn’t quite get it right. I never gave up! 😉 Wow, look at those clams! Nice hefty ingredients list too! Delicious.

    • Thank you Seana! Isn’t that funny? It makes you wonder what they’re thinking when it comes to their recipes… as if you’re going to run off with it, and share it with the world!! The clams were really good, even got a thumbs up from the family!! xoxo ❤

  2. These look so fancy! I know a couple of people who are like that–not wanting to share recipes–they coyly say it’s a “secret family recipe”! 🙂

  3. Cute story…I think every group of friends has a tight-lipped member! Even without her help I think you’ve created a gem of a recipe. Your clams sound fantastic and they look perfectly delicious 🙂 Beautiful clam-esque platter to showcase the little guys too!

  4. Pingback: Fiesta Friday #11 | The Novice Gardener

  5. Delish! After seeing your clam casino and Liz’s version last week, I really want to make them! And your story about your friend made me laugh, because I also have friends who are almost like that, all they would ever give me is a list of ingredients, and I have to figure out the rest! Here’s to kitchen experiments! 😉

  6. This looks delicious!! The story of your friend make me smile, her own special recipe is her treasure, I guess. I am partly guilty of not sharing recipe so much, but that’s come from my laziness of writing things down. 😉

  7. Amusing story, but no doubt your recipe is just fine – love the combination with bacon and especially breadcrumbs, I use them myself whenever there´s the slightest chance they make a match (obviously, you like them too)!

  8. I have only really eaten clams as clams casino! 🙂 I was contemplating making a version similar to this for Easter– thanks for your terrific recipe!! I’m going to try it! 🙂

  9. I have been thinking about clams casino lately and it’s funny I was at my friends restaurant yesterday and he told me I had to try his clam recipe. Now I see yours, I think I am going to have to try making these! They sound delicious, and I don’t really get it why some people refuse to share recipes.

  10. Clams casino is a favorite appetizer of mine when I dine out…yours look fantastic.. I found out that Ritz crackers put a twist on breadcrumbs… I’m definitely going to makeyour version

    • Oh definitely Sylvia! I hope you do make them!! It took me a long time before I tried cooking clams. I guess we tend to leave some things to others to prepare for us…but why do we do that? We are perfectly capable of doing it ourselves…and I’d say 99% of the time, it’s much better!! 🙂 so glad you stopped by..

  11. Prudy, I used to be like your friend when I was younger, totally protecting my sources & recipes. This post brought back some memories, haha! And your clams casino looks so scrumptuous!

  12. Ah – Prudy, I love clams casino! I haven’t had them in years. They’re one of my favorite appetizers! What a lovely surprise to see your beautiful version on my feed today 🙂

  13. Your friend is so not like any of us. Our family recipes were always shared and it was considered a compliment when someone asked. Mine would be an awfully boring blog if I didn’t share any of them. I love your take on clams casino. they’re a good mix of flavors and texture, and, well, anything with a little bacon grease has got to be good. I read that somewhere on the internet, so, it’s got to be true.

  14. I just had clams casino the other day! Were so, so good! Unfortunately, they were from a restaurant and I couldn’t very well ask for the recipe. Thank goodness YOU share yours! I can never understand not sharing recipes, unless they’re meant for business.

    • That’s when you have to schmooze the waiter/waitress!! Try to pry out exactly what’s in that recipe!! 🙂 You and me both… I can’t understand it. It’s not like they can take the recipes with them…you know…. “when they go”… 🙂

  15. Pingback: Clams Casino | thebrookcook

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s