Clams Casino Originated in 1917 at Little Casino in Narragansett, Rhode Island
Clams are wonderful served raw, fried, broiled or in chowders or other fish stews. One of my favorite clam dishes is Clams Casino, a classic baked preparation that originated in Narragansett, Rhode Island. Be sure to check out my All About Clams article to learn more about the various varieties of clams.
As with most dishes, there is more than one way to make clams casino, and ingredient lists vary widely from recipe to recipe. The common factors are clams on the half shell, bacon, garlic, cheese and butter. As far as I’m concerned, you can’t go wrong with these ingredients. You can make a very basic Clams Casino by topping a clam on the half shell with a couple of shavings of Parmesan cheese and a small piece of bacon and then broiling until the cheese is golden and the bacon is crisp.
I like to add a few more ingredients to my Clams Casino. In this version, I use white wine, but you can certainly substitute chicken, vegetable or fish stock if you prefer not to cook with alcohol.
24 littleneck or cherrystone clams, cleaned and shucked, bottom shells reserved
4-6 slices of bacon
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
½ cup minced white onion
¾ cup minced green and red peppers
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon minced fresh herbs (oregano and basil are nice)
1 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
How To Prepare At Home
In a large sauté pan, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove from pan, drain on paper towels and crumble; set aside.
Wipe out the sauté pan, but don't wash it. Heat the pan over medium-high heat for a minute or two, then add the olive oil and butter.
Sauté the shallot, garlic, onion and peppers with the oregano and a pinch of salt and pepper until softened.
Turn the heat to medium high and add the wine. Reduce the pan liquid until only about ¼ cup remains. Cool the vegetables completely.
Stir in the panko, reserved bacon, fresh herbs and half the Parmesan cheese. Taste and correct seasonings.
Shuck the clams, reserving the bottom shells. Arrange them on a bed of rock salt on a rimmed baking sheet.
Divide the stuffing equally among the clams, mounding it up slightly. Sprinkle the rest of the Parmesan evenly over the stuffing
Bake at 500°F until the clams are cooked and the topping is deep golden brown, about 7-10 minutes.
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