Clams Casino

Canadian Living - Holiday Entertaining - - Easy entertaining -

Hands-on time: 30 min­utes

To­tal time: 30 min­utes

Makes: 24 pieces

This clas­sic ap­pe­tizer of clams on the half shell tra­di­tion­ally re­quires te­dious shuck­ing. In this easy ver­sion, you steam the clams first, mak­ing it a cinch to re­move the top shell. You’ll need about two cups of coarse salt to cover the bot­tom of the bak­ing sheet; it will act as a sta­bi­lizer for the rounded clamshells, keep­ing them from mov­ing around as you fill and bake them. Feel free to use any kind of coarse salt, in­clud­ing in­ex­pen­sive pick­ling salt.

24 lit­tle­neck clams (about 1 kg to­tal) 4 strips ba­con, chopped

1 shal­lot, finely chopped half jalapeño pep­per, seeded and finely chopped ¼ cup jarred roasted red pep­pers, drained and finely chopped 1 small clove gar­lic, minced 2 tsp un­salted but­ter ¼ cup fresh bread crumbs 2 tbsp chopped fresh pars­ley ½ tsp grated le­mon zest 1 tbsp grated Parme­san cheese coarse salt

Us­ing stiff brush, scrub clams; dis­card any that do not close when tapped. In large heavy-bot­tomed saucepan or Dutch oven, bring clams and 1 cup wa­ter to boil over high heat. Re­duce heat to medium, cover and cook un­til clams have opened, about 10 min­utes. Dis­card any that do not open. Us­ing slot­ted spoon, trans­fer clams to bowl; dis­card cook­ing liq­uid. Re­move and dis­card top halves of shells. Set clams in half shells aside.

While clams are cook­ing, in non­stick skil­let, cook ba­con over medium heat, stir­ring of­ten, un­til crisp, about 5 min­utes. Us­ing slot­ted spoon, trans­fer ba­con to pa­per towel–lined plate to drain. Set aside. Drain all but 1 tsp fat from pan; cook shal­lot and jalapeño pep­per over medium heat, stir­ring of­ten, un­til shal­lot is soft­ened, about 4 min­utes. Add red pep­pers and gar­lic; cook, stir­ring, un­til fra­grant, about 1 minute. Stir in ba­con. Set aside.

In small non­stick skil­let, melt but­ter over medium heat; cook bread crumbs, stir­ring oc­ca­sion­ally, un­til light golden, about 3 min­utes. Add half of the pars­ley and the le­mon zest; cook, stir­ring, for 1 minute. Trans­fer to sep­a­rate bowl; stir in Parme­san.

Fill large rimmed bak­ing sheet with enough coarse salt to cover bot­tom. Ar­range clams, shell side down, in salt to sta­bi­lize. Spoon scant 1 tsp of the ba­con mix­ture into each; sprin­kle each with scant ½ tsp of the bread crumb mix­ture. (Makea­head: Re­frig­er­ate for up to 4 hours.) Broil un­til top­ping is golden, about 2 min­utes. Sprin­kle with re­main­ing pars­ley.

PER PIECE: about 28 cal, 3 g pro, 1 g to­tal fat (trace sat. fat), 1 g carb (trace di­etary fi­bre, trace sugar), 9 mg chol, 53 mg sodium, 75 mg potas­sium. % RDI : 1% cal­cium, 19% iron, 3% vit A, 10% vit C, 2% fo­late.

Smaller Manila clams make a fine sub­sti­tute for lit­tle­necks. Sim­ply buy ad­di­tional clams and spoon less of the fill­ing into each shell.

Hick­ory Honey Pep­per Nuts

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