Baked Clams

Robin grew up eating baked clams in Italian restaurants, and has many fond memories of her father ordering them as an appetizer. Since it is not easy to open raw clams, we steam them until they just start to open, top them with a delicious herbed bread crumb mixture, and broil them until browned. We still call them “baked” clams, even though they are technically "broiled"—"baked clams" seems more worthy of the dish.

Servings and Times

Serves: 4
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Inactive Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Tools and Appliances

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We start by heating our Dutch oven over medium heat. We place the clams in a colander in the sink and wash them one at a time under cold running water with a clean scrub brush. We set them aside in a bowl.

On our cutting board, we smash and peel 2 of the cloves of garlic. We add these with 1 tablespoon of the oil to the Dutch oven. We stir briefly until the garlic is fragrant, and then add the wine and water. With our microplane, we zest in half of the lemon, reserving the rest for the topping. We also add the parsley stems to the pot and bring to a boil.

We add the cleaned clams to the steaming liquid in the Dutch oven, being sure they are all closed (any open ones would be tapped on the counter gently to see if they close on their own). We cover the Dutch oven, and steam the clams for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, we prepare the topping. In a large bowl, we mix the bread crumbs with the chopped parsley, the remaining ¼ cup olive oil, dried oregano, salt, pepper, and the zest from the other half of the lemon. We press the 2 remaining garlic cloves directly into the bowl. The topping is mixed well with a fork and tasted for seasoning.

We preheat the broiler on high.

We check on the clams after 5 minutes. We stir them and as they start to open we remove them quickly to a large cookie sheet. Some of the clams take as long as 10 minutes to open. When the clams have all opened, we strain the liquid through a cheesecloth lined strainer into a large measuring cup.

We remove the top shells of the clams and with a paring knife try to loosen the clams from their bottom shells (for easier eating). We do our best not to lose any of the liquid surrounding the clams.

We stir in ½ cup of the strained liquid from steaming the clams into the bread crumb mixture and then, with a spoon, generously top each clam with ½ tablespoon or so of the topping. We try to seal around the clam “meat” with the bread crumbs.

The clams are placed under the hot broiler for 4 minutes until the breading is browned and crispy.

We serve the clams with lemon slices (from the zested lemon!).

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