Clams are the heart of millions of delicious recipes that involve either stuffing, baking, grilling, steaming and on and on. However you make them, make sure you do not crowd out the flavor of the clams with too many ingredients or add-on flavors.
For the most part, when something can be made quickly, effortlessly and simply it usually tastes that way. That is not true with this dish, it is fool-proof and simple, yet amazingly spectacular. I also find that stuffed clams can be way over overseasoned, too much other stuff and not enough clams. I use three clams for every baked stuffed clam. Sure, there are a lot of extra shells but there there is no reason to fill each shell.
Growing up in New England to frugal parents they were always on the hunt for restaurants that didn’t load up seafood dishes with fillers. The star of every seafood dish should be from the sea. Baked stuffed clams can be made in advanced and finished off in the broiler when guests arrive.
- 150 little-neck clams
- 16 tablespoons of unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, more for dusting
- 4 shallots, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup of basil, finely chopped, more to finish
- 2 cups of panko breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, finely ground
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Prepare the clams by rinsing them in a colander, place then in a bin/bowl and cover with enough water and ice and then add 1/2 cup of kosher salt and let sit for 30 minutes, rinse off in the colander again
- Preheat grill to medium high with the cover down
- Place clams on the grill and shut cover for 5 minutes, then open and remove each clam as soon as they pop open, carefully using the tongs to keep as much liquid in the clam, place in a bowl and let cool, then separate the shells, keeping 50 of them, and put the meat of three clams in each reserved shell on a baking sheet
- Put a sauce pan over a medium high flame, add the butter, red pepper flakes and then the shallots when the better is bubbling, when translucent add the basil and stir in for two minutes, add garlic, cook for an additional two minutes then the strr in the breadcrumbs, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and lightly brown, take off heat and add the parmesan and mix together
- Cover the clams already placed in the shell with a teaspoon, or so, of the breadcrumb mix, then either cover and refrigerate for up to a day, then put in the broiler and remove when golden brown. You can finish of with sprinkles of parmesan, basil and red pepper flakes
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