I grew up on the bay an am fairly certain my body is composed of mostly salt water. Clams are my favorite food and I love them every way possible. I’m headed to spend the weekend on the water. If you can’t get to the shore, here’s a simple recipe to bring the shore to you.
Makes 2 dozen, feel free to multiply
1 dozen little neck clams
1 T butter
1/2 cup minced onion
1/2 cup minced celery
1/2 cup minced green bell pepper
1/4 cup no oak white wine
1 T red pepper flakes
1 T black pepper
~1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated hard cheese like grana padana, parmesan or asiago, divided in half
1. Scrub the clams clean of any grit under cold running water. Put in a bowl in the freezer for one hour. This will open them.
2. Meanwhile, mince up all you veggies. Preheat oven to 450º.
3. When the clams are open, use a butter knife to scrape them into the bowl of a food processor. Reserve the shells.
4. Pulse the food processor a few times to chop the clams roughly.
5. Melt the butter in a large sauté pan. Add the onion, celery and green pepper. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the veggies start to soften.
6. Add the wine and reduce the liquid back to what the pan looked like before you added the wine.
7. Add the red pepper flakes and the black pepper.
8. Stir in the chopped clams and cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
9. Stir in the breadcrumbs and half the cheese. Depending on how juicy your clams were, you may need more or less breadcrumbs. Look at the picture. That’s the texture you are aiming for. Too juicy and the filling will cook out of the shells in the oven.
10. Taste. If you feel like it needs salt, add it, but the clams and the cheese are pretty salty so be cautious. Add more black or red pepper if you want.
11. Line a baking sheet with foil and line up your reserved clam shells. Use two teaspoons to loosely pile the filling into the shells. Sprinkle the tops with the other half of the grated cheese.
12. Bake until the tops are golden and crispy, about 10 minutes. Serve hot with lemon wedges.