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Clams Casino

Clams Casino

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Head chef and Top Chef alum Ed Cotton shares with us his recipe for baked clams from Sotto 13 restaurant in New York City.


Chef's Tip: After cooking the clams, strain and freeze the broth. Use it for seafood soups.


For the broth

  • 2 Cups dry white wine
  • 1 1/2 Cup sliced shallots
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 1/2 Cup chopped parsley
  • 3 sprigs fresh tyme
  • 48 Little Neck clams, scrubbed with a brush

For the filling

  • 8 Ounces unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 Cup Japanese Panko bread crumbs
  • 3 Tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 2 Tablespoons finely diced Serrano or prosciutto ham
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped chives
  • 2 Teaspoons minced shallots
  • 2 Teaspoons minced garlic
  • Salt and pepper

Clams Casino - Recipes

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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.

Baked Clams Casino

When summer rolls around, I like to fill my days with as much sand, surf and seafood as I can. I know it’s very possible to enjoy seafood all year long but ever since I was little I felt it was a true necessity to eat all the clams, crabs and lobster I possibly could every time we were at the shore.

I still have that urge….to round out every meal with a pile of shellfish and a big bowl of butter for dipping but one of my favorite things to eat ever all year long is Clams Casino. And trust me, I’ve had my fill of bad clams casino so it was important that I made the BEST Clams Casino recipe you would ever sink your teeth into.

What are Clams Casino?

Clams Casino are a “clams on the half shell” appetizer made of chopped clams, bread crumbs and bacon. Originating in Rhode Island, this New England style appetizer is popular all over the United States in various forms.

Many versions of Clams Casino are simply a stuffed clam with the same buttery stuffing baked on top but my version is even better because I tossed chopped clams in the stuffing so you don’t have that one chewy piece that sometimes can just be a bit too chewy. Like a big ball of never ending chewing gum.

How to Make Them

This recipe for Clams Casino couldn’t be simpler to make. First, I rendered some bacon in a pan then removed before it became totally crispy.

While the bacon is cooking, wash the clams and arrange on a baking sheet. Roast the clams in the oven until they all open discarding any unopened clams. Remove from the shells and chop roughly. Set aside.

Next, I sautéed some veggies (onions, garlic, bell pepper) in the bacon fat until softened. Then, I tossed it all with panko bread crumbs, Italian seasoning, lemon zest and the chopped clams.

Stuff the clam shell halves with the stuffing and top with a piece of bacon before baking until crispy and golden brown.

This is SERIOUSLY the easiest and BEST Baked Clams Casino recipe around. You can even prep ahead and bake them right before serving. They’re perfect for parties or lazy summer days hanging by the pool.

You can also find these Baked Clams Casino at every holiday party alongside this Garlic Roasted Shrimp Cocktail with homemade Cocktail Sauce and a few of my FAVE Lobster Arrancini. Everyone goes crazy for all three of these simple to make recipes. To see what else I’m making for my summer parties be sure to follow along on Instagram!

    1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
    2. Shuck the clams, leaving each clam in the half-shell and reserving the juices. Strain the juices through a cheesecloth into a bowl.
    3. Place the clams on a rimmed baking sheet in one even layer. Top each clam with a pepper square, then with a bacon or pancetta square, and with a dab of butter, using all 3 tablespoons evenly. Sprinkle the chopped parsley on top. Pour the reserved shucking juices into a measuring cup, and add enough white wine to make 2 cups combined liquid. Pour the liquid into the bottom of the baking sheet.
    4. Bake the clams, uncovered, until the bacon or pancetta is crispy and the clams are cooked all the way through, about 25 minutes. Serve on a platter, drizzled with baking juices.

    Reprinted with permission from Lidia's Italy in America by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and Tanya Bastianich Manuali. Copyright © 2011 by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and Tanya Bastianich Manuali. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.

    Lidia Matticchio Bastianich is the author of seven precious books, five of which have been accompanied by nationally syndicated public television series. She is the owner of the New York City restaurant Felidia, among others, and she gives lectures on Italian cuisine throughout the country. She lives on Long Island, New York.

    You should take the time to really dice your ingredients small and evenly so when you eat a clam all the flavors blend together well.

    Put olive oil in the pan and sauté pancetta for a few minutes until it gets crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

    Place clams in the oven for about 5-7 minutes until they open.

    Meanwhile add the peppers, shallots, garlic and to the pan. Season with cayenne and fresh cracked black pepper. Add butter and parsley and cook for 2-3 minutes. Then add wine and reduce down.

    Take the pan off the heat and add cheese to your mixture.

    Discard any clams that don’t open. Change your oven to broil.

    Remove the tops from all the clams and spoon mixture in each one- be generous! Add a little extra cheese on top.

    Broil for a few minutes until everything browns. Finish with a fresh squeeze of lemon juice and serve!

    The BEST 5 Ingredient Clams Casino

    Hi, it's New Year's Eve, are you ready to paaaaahhhhhhrrrrteeeeeyyy.

    Not me. I have requested a solo night with Jordan, no parties or NYC shenanigans, just a quiet (oh man, we are totally in our 40's) night with good food. A few elegant appetizers, a little bit of bubbly and maybe I'll put on makeup (probably not).

    As I was sifting through recipes this morning I realized I never posted this epic clams casino recipe, and there is no better time than today! Tender clams topped with chopped shallot and fresh black pepper, crunchy panko breadcrumbs, and a perfect bite of salty bacon. The smokey bacon soaks into the breadcrumbs, the fresh clams are perfectly tender and ready to be slurped up, top with a squeeze of lemon juice for that final hit of bright citrus.

    I can't take credit for this clams casino recipe, it was graciously given to me by my fishmonger (if you live in NYC please visit Pura Vida Fisheries at the Union Square Greenmarket, their fish is by far the best!). We have probably made it more than a dozen times since. It is a very straightforward simple recipe, simpler than a traditional clams casino recipe. It is a bite of pure ocean love with a hint of bacon. In other words, this is not the heavy gut bomb of old-school clams casino.

    Best Clams Casino Recipe

    The Bald Chef shows you how to make the classic, and best Clams Casino recipe. This is a great appetizer recipe that features Little Neck Clams, Bacon, garlic and cheese.This recipe is great for any party, or small appetizer for a dinner party. This recipe for Clams Casino was first made at The Casino at Narragansett Pier in the state of New York. The recipe made here by The Bald Chef serves 3 people 6 clams per person. This is a nice appetizer that can be cooked in your oven or on the grill. I love the flavor of fresh Little Neck Clams.

    • 18 littleneck clams, scrubbed
    • 2 bay leaves
    • ½ cup water
    • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
    • 2 medium shallots, minced
    • 1 small green bell pepper, minced
    • 2 ounces Canadian bacon, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
    • 2 teaspoons white-wine vinegar
    • 3/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs, preferably whole-wheat (see Tip)
    • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
    • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
    • 2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano, or 1 teaspoon dried
    • 1/2 teaspoon smoked or regular paprika, (see Ingredient Note)
    • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

    Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

    Place clams, bay leaves and water in a large pot cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook the clams until they open, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain in a colander. (Discard any clams that do not open.) Discard the bay leaves.

    Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and bell pepper cook, stirring often, until soft, 2 to 3 minutes. Add Canadian bacon cook, stirring frequently, until heated and fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in vinegar transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Stir in breadcrumbs, Parmesan, chives, oregano, paprika and pepper.

    Remove clam meat from shells (reserving the shells), chop and stir into the breadcrumb mixture. Pull clamshells apart and spoon the breadcrumb mixture into the half shells, packing lightly and mounding slightly (you may have a few shells left over).

    Place the stuffed clamshells on a large baking sheet. Bake until well browned, about 20 minutes.

    Make Ahead Tip: Prepare the stuffed clams through Step 4 wrap and freeze for up to 1 month. Remove from the freezer and bake at 450°F until well browned, 20 to 25 minutes.

    Tip: To make fresh breadcrumbs, trim crusts from whole-wheat bread. Tear bread into pieces and process in a food processor until coarse crumbs form. One slice of bread makes about 1/2 cup fresh crumbs.

    Ingredient note: Smoked paprika is available in three varieties: sweet, bittersweet and hot. Sweet is the most versatile, but choose hot if you like a bit of heat. It can be purchased in gourmet markets and online at

    Cut Down on Dishes: A rimmed baking sheet is great for everything from roasting to catching accidental drips and spills. For effortless cleanup and to keep your baking sheets in tip-top shape, line them with a layer of foil before each use.

    Recipe Summary

    • 24 clams (about 7 1/2 pounds), preferably cherrystones, scrubbed and shucked, shells discarded
    • 1/2 baguette, thinly sliced on the bias to yield 24 slices
    • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
    • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
    • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
    • 2/3 cup minced shallots (2 large)
    • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
    • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh oregano
    • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
    • 1 strip bacon, thinly sliced crosswise

    Place clams in 1 layer on a baking dish, and refrigerate. Preheat oven to 400 degrees, and place rack in middle position. Place bread on a baking sheet, drizzle with oil, and sprinkle with salt. Bake until toasted, about 5 minutes. Remove, and let cool. Turn oven to broil.

    Place butter in a small bowl, and mix until very smooth. Stir in shallots, garlic, oregano, parsley, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper until incorporated. Spoon 1 teaspoon butter mixture on top of each clam, spreading to cover, and top with a few pieces of bacon.

    Broil until clams are cooked and bacon is crisp, about 6 minutes. Transfer 1 clam and some juice to each toast. Broil 1 minute more serve immediately.

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