Casino Clams

1/4 cup bacon, small dice
2 tablespoons shallots, minced
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1/4 cup red bell pepper, small dice
1/4 cup green bell pepper, small dice
1 teaspoon flat leaf parsley, minced
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup bread crumbs, dry
salt and pepper to taste
24 littleneck or cherrystone clams
For serving (optional): rock salt & lemon, cut in half, wrapped in cheesecloth

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  2. Cook the bacon over medium heat until fat is completely rendered and bacon is crisp (about 8 min).
  3. Add the shallots, garlic, and peppers to the bacon and saute over medium heat for 2-3 minutes or until peppers are tender.
  4. Add the parsley, lemon juice, butter, and bread crumbs; combine well and season to taste.
  5. Cool the breadcrumb mixture, set aside.
  6. Shuck clams and loosen the meat (move to other shell to be sure it is loose). Discard extra shells. Leaving clams in half shell. Other option is to steam clams for 5 minutes until their shells just begin to open, then set aside to cool. When cool enough to handle, remove the top shells and discard and slide a knife under each clam to loosen in the shell.)
  7. Place the clams on a baking sheet and top each clam with 1 tablespoon of the bread-crumb mixture. Press onto clam and tuck around edges to help it mold better.
  8. Bake the clams until they are thoroughly cooked and the bread-crumb mixture is crisp, approx 15 minutes.
  9. Serve clams nestled in rock salt with half lemon wrapped in cheesecloth.

Chef: clams are tender and not overcooked, good flavor and texture, appreciated the crispy bacon.

Personal/Team: these were very flavorful, nice seasoning. Being patient with the bacon and rendering it slowly and making crispy paid off and came through in the final product.

Lessons Learned:
  • everything on the plate should be edible, there is an exception for serving clams on the half-shell, but the clams should be very shucked so they are easy to eat.
  • don't overcook the clams, if the topping still needs to brown when clams are cooked, use salamander to do it quickly.
  • If you are making a cooked clam dish, clams need to be cooked. People might be hesitant about eating raw clams and that's why they ordered a cooked dish, so we need to meet those expectations.
  • To make clams and topping go together smoothly, first, make sure the clam is fully chucked and change shells if needed, then when putting the topping on, tuck it into the shell and form it as one item.
  • Seafood is traditionally served with lemon because historically the fish wasn't always that fresh and the lemon his that lack of freshness, now most seafood is served fresh and we don't have the same requirement, but it is still expected by many customers.