Who doesn’t like baked clams?!? Ok, well maybe vegetarians (like my wife), those allergic to shellfish and some other people, but I’ve found that even those who tell me “Oh I don’t eat clams” will often ask me for a second serving of these awesome clams! The beauty of making these yourself is that the clam to breadcrumb ratio skews much more heavily to the clams. You're not eating a mouthful of breadcrumbs that have no flavor.
These are super simple to make and you can prepare these up to two days in advance, see the Notes below. Also, see the notes for advice on finding large clam shells. Quick video on the assembly right below the Ingredients.
Prep, Cook, Servings
Prep: 20 minutes + 20 minute rest
Cook: 2-4 minutes
Servings: 16 stuffed clams
16 Large Clams like Quahog, Top Neck or Cherrystone Can also get 1/2 bushel or so of smaller clams and prep for larger shells. 6.5 oz can of chopped clams (optional if you feel you need more clams) White Wine for steaming 4 Tbsp of butter 3 Cloves garlic sliced 1.5 cups seasoned breadcrumbs 1/4 cup fresh basil chopped 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves 4 cloves finely chopped garlic 1/4 cup of grated cheese (I prefer Locatelli pecorino romano) 1/2 cup olive oil 3 Lemons cut into wedges Fresh lemon juice to drizzle on clams before broiling.
Steam the clams: Scrub the clams under cold running water.
In a large pot, add enough white wine and water to make at least 1/2 inch of liquid in the bottom of the pan
Add the butter and the 3 cloves of sliced garlic. Bring to a boil
When boiling, add all the clams, cover and cook until all the clams open. Generally they start opening after 3 minutes and can take up to 10 minutes for all to open.
Remove the clams as they open and let cool. Strain and reserve at least 1 ladle of the clam broth from the pot.
Remove the meat from the clams and if you have the larger clams, save the shells for stuffing.
Make the Stuffing: Chopped the steamed clams.
In a small bowl, toss together the chopped clams, bread crumbs, fresh basil, parsley, garlic and grated cheese. If you are using the extra can of clams, add them now too.
Use a fork to stir 2 Tbsp of the reserved clam broth and the olive oil into this mixture. It should be moist but not oily. Add more broth if necessary. Set aside to chill for at least 20 minutes.
While the mixture chills, break open the shells completely and clean thoroughly.
Brush each shell with vegetable or olive oil.
Fill each clam with a portion of the topping mixture, spreading it evenly over the clam to the edge of the shell. Pat down gently, but do not press it tight. You can cover the clams and store in the refrigerator at this point until ready to serve. See the Note below.
If you stored the clams in the refrigerator, see the note on re-heating the clams below.
Preheat your oven to 350.
Place the clam shells on a baking sheet and cover with foil. Bake for 15 minutes, this is just to heat the clams through before you broil them.
Remove from the oven, set your oven to Broil.
Uncover the clams, brush them with olive oil and pour some lemon juice onto the top of each clam.
Place the clams, uncovered, under the broiler and cook until golden brown, about 2 – 4 minutes.
These clams can be made in advance and stored in the fridge. Place either on a baking sheet and cover with foil or into an airtight container and place in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
To Heat refrigerated clams: Set your oven to 225. Spread the clams on a baking sheet and cover with foil. Place in the oven for 40 minutes to allow them to heat through. Then proceed with the broil instruction above.
If you can’t find large clams shells for baking, you can order Baking Clam Shells online like these. They’re washable and re-useable.
Or if you’re at the beach, you might find some clamshells along the shore. We brought over 40 clamshells home from the beaches at Edisto, SC.
For clamshells that you get at the beach, boil them for at least 10 minutes. Then wash thoroughly. Clamshells are incredibly durable and you can wash and re-use them for years.