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Baked Clams with Bacon
Sustainable Seafood Recipe
Chef Alex Guarnaschelli's recipe pairs sweet clams with smoky bacon and breadcrumbs for a treat that's rich and buttery, tender and crunchy all at the same time. "I love to make this dish," says Guarnaschelli. "It's simple and a crowd pleaser. The clams are cooked and served in their shells so it's an easy dish to share with friends as a first course."
Farmed littleneck clams are available year-round and are raised in an environmentally responsible way. These filter-feeders can actually have a positive benefit on the surrounding water. Farmed littleneck clams are on the Seafood Watch green "Best Choices" list
- (Serves 8)
- Farmed littleneck clams are available year-round
- 40 littleneck clams, thoroughly washed*
- ½ cup white wine
- 6 slices bacon, cut into thin slices crosswise
- ¾ stick unsalted butter, softened
- 2 scallions, peeled, trimmed and thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- Juice and zest from 1 lemon
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground white pepper
- ½ cup toasted breadcrumbs
- 1 small bunch parsley with stems removed, washed, dried and finely chopped
Preheat oven to 375ºF.
Heat a large skillet and add the clams. Add the white wine and cook the clams over high heat until they open. Remove the clams from the skillet as they open using a pair of kitchen tongs, and gather them in a large bowl. Allow clams to cool for a few minutes and then twist off the top shells, leaving the clam "meat" in the bottom shells. Refrigerate until ready to cook.
Place the cut bacon in a skillet and cook until crispy. Drain on a paper towel and reserve the grease.
Place the butter in the bowl of a food processor and add the scallions, garlic, lemon zest and half of the lemon juice. Pulse to blend. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the reserved bacon grease and the breadcrumbs and stir to blend. Place the breadcrumb mixture on a baking sheet and cook in the oven until golden brown and bubbling, 3-5 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if needed.
Remove the clams from the refrigerator and loosely mold some of the breadcrumb mixture into each shell so the clam body is somewhat covered. Arrange the clams in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Broil for 1 minute, watching constantly so they don't burn. Remove from the oven and squirt with the remaining lemon juice. Top each clam with the bacon and parsley and serve immediately.
*Note: For safety reasons, discard any clams that are open before you cook them and any that are closed after you cook them.
Alex Guarnaschelli, Chef of Butter Restaurant in New York City and host of the new Food Network show "Alex's Day Off"
Farmed Littleneck Clams
The majority of farmed clams consumed in the United States are farmed here, with most imports coming from Canada. Aquaculture production is well-managed and has a low impact on the environment. Generally clams are cultured on the seafloor and when hand-harvested do not result in any environmental disturbance.
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