Growing up, every once in a while my dad would make his “famous” clams casino. And the last few years it has become our Christmas tradition when we go to my parents’ to celebrate the holiday. In addition to the my mom making turkey and all the fixings and me making baguettes and cookies, he makes clams casino for us. It’s not the most popular of appetizers these days but I have a soft spot for it, especially when done properly. My dad’s recipe is one he and his childhood friend tweaked and developed over the years.
A few weeks back I realized that with the upcoming holiday, we’d be having clams and they’d be perfect for featuring on this blog. I cleared it with my dad and the next day I started getting emails from him. He’d started mentally storyboarding the post. We’ll do a shot of the carrots, and a shot of this and that and do you want me to do it this way? Or how about that? I took that as a sign of his excitement. And as we were putting the clams together on Christmas I promised him international acclaim and fame once the recipe is posted here. (So I might have fibbed a little bit…)
I’m sure my dad could wax poetic on his highly scientific experiments in developing what we have today as this recipe. But what I do know is that he has tried a variety of things, including cooking the clams on rock salt. This isn’t an uncommon presentation when you order the dish in restaurants — assuming you can find a restaurant that still offers them. You could also do this with top neck or other types of clams but my dad feels the little neck are more tender. There are also ones with garlic sauce or more spice but I like the simplicity and clean flavors of these ones. …Ok, so I’m a little biased.
My Dad’s Clams Casino
for about 3 dozen clams
- 3 dozen Little Neck clams
- 1/2 cup of diced carrot
- 1/2 cup of diced green bell pepper
- 1/2 cup of diced celery
- Worcestershire sauce
- lemon juice
- Italian breadcrumbs
- Open and clean the clams if not already done. Dispose of the top shell. Place the cleaned clams (the bottom shell with the loosened meat) on an baking sheet covered with aluminum foil.
- Slice the bacon so that there’s one piece for each clam about 1 inch long or to cover the clam.
- Give a drop of Worcestershire sauce and lemon juice to each clam.
- On each clam spoon on a little of the carrots, pepper and celery.
- Lightly sprinkle breadcrumbs onto each clam and then finish each clam with a slice of bacon.
- Broil the clams until the bacon is cooked and the breadcrumbs are browned. Serve the clams with slices of lemon.