Sweet and tender steamed clams are topped with a flavorful breadcrumb topping before being broiled to perfection. Clams casino is a restaurant classic that’s easy to make at home!
Happy Monday! Did you guys watch the Super Bowl? Did you make some fun game food?
Kyle and I had my buffalo chicken salad and nachos. The nachos were simply just seasoned chips with melted cheese (topped with salsa and sour cream, of course) – nothing fancy because I was feeling super lazy yesterday!
Now that the Super Bowl is over, it’s time to get ready for Valentine’s Day! Are you a V-Day fan? I think it’s a fun little holiday to show some extra appreciation to the ones you love. I always use the day as an excuse to make some fancy food and indulge in all things chocolate.
Today I’m sharing with you my new favorite appetizer! Up until New Year’s Eve, I never had clams casino. Crazy I know. I ended up loving them, so I knew I had to share! Even if you aren’t a big clam fan, I think you’d like these. I mean, they are covered in bacon, aromatics, breadcrumbs, and cheese. What’s not to love?
They are also really easy to make! There’s a few steps involved and some chopping, but you can do all the prep ahead of time.
To start you’ll steam the clams in a super flavorful liquid of garlic, lemon, and vermouth. I’ve become pretty obsessed with vermouth lately and I especially love it paired with seafood. If you don’t have vermouth you can use white wine, or if you don’t want to use any alcohol you can use seafood stock or clam juice. Once the clams are steamed you’ll want to remove them from the cooking liquid and make sure you reserve 1/2 cup of that liquid to use in the filling! It adds SO much flavor.
Speaking of the filling…
It’s absolute perfection!
You’ve got bacon, shallots, red bell pepper, garlic, parsley, cheese, breadcrumbs, and lemon. Your house will smell divine. Oh and don’t forget about the clam cooking liquid! It really takes the filling to the next level and brings it all together.
To assemble the clams, remove the half of shell that doesn’t have the clam (duh) and then pack on the topping. At this point, you can pop them under the broiler if you want to eat them right away, or you can cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. Then, when you are ready to eat just broil them until nice and brown and warmed through. Top ’em with a squeeze of lemon and get ready to be in flavor heaven. By the way, this recipe is for 3 dozen clams. Most clams casino recipes make a dozen. I don’t know about you, but a dozen wouldn’t make it far in my house.
Kyle and I polished off the entire 3 dozen for dinner when I made these. Obviously if you’re planning a 3-course meal for two, you probably wouldn’t consume that many. But, I always like to have more food than not enough. Plus every time I buy a bag of clams, there’s always at least 3 dozen. So, I suggest making the whole recipe and only cooking what you’ll eat, then you’ll have some leftover for the next day!
If you’ve never had clams casino, you need to try them! I demand it ?.
- 1 Tablespoon Butter
- 2 Garlic Cloves, finely minced
- Salt & Pepper
- ¼ Cup Dry Vermouth
- 1 Lemon, zested and juiced (save the zest for the topping)
- 3 Dozen Littleneck Clams, rinsed and scrubbed clean
- 2 Slices Thick Cut Bacon, finely chopped
- ½ Cup Red Bell Pepper, very finely chopped
- 2 Shallots, very finely chopped
- 2 Garlic Cloves, finely minced
- Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- ½ Cup Reserved Cooking Liquid from the Clams
- 1 Cup Gluten Free Breadcrumbs, or regular if you don't need gluten-free
- ½ Cup Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
- ¼ Cup Freshly Chopped Parsley
- Lemon Zest, from the lemon used for cooking the clams
- Lemon Wedges, for serving
- Heat a large, deep pot over high heat and add in the butter. Once it’s melted add in the garlic and season with salt and pepper. Sauté for a few seconds until fragrant and then pour the vermouth and lemon juice into the pot. Add in the clams and cover the pot with a tight fitting lid.
- Steam the clams until they open – about 5-10 minutes. Keep a close eye on them and remove them as they open to avoid overcooking! Discard any that don’t open.
- Allow the clams to cool while you prepare the topping. Make sure to reserve ½ cup of the cooking liquid!
- Heat a medium skillet over high heat and add in the bacon. Cook the bacon for 2-3 minutes, or until the fat begins to render. Add in the bell pepper and shallots. Cook the bacon-vegetable mixture for 3-4 minutes, or until the bacon begins to crisp and the shallots and peppers are very tender. Stir in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds longer. Season the mixture with freshly ground black pepper.
- Pour the reserved cooking liquid and cook for about 1 minute and then add in the breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, parsley, and reserved lemon zest. Mix well until all the ingredients are well distributed and the breadcrumbs soak up the liquid. The mixture should hold together well and have an almost sticky texture – if it seems dry and a little additional liquid and if it seems to wet, sprinkle in more breadcrumbs.
- Preheat your broiler.
- Remove the half of shell that doesn’t have the clam and discard. Lay each clam on a baking sheet and top each evenly with the breadcrumb mixture, packing it down over the clam.
- Broil the clams for 5-8 minutes, watching carefully so they don’t burn, until golden brown and hot. Serve with lemon wedges.