Clams Casino

As spring rolls in, so do the backyard get-togethers and garden parties.  I always love the idea of an outdoor gathering in early spring. Imagine an evening with friends on an expansive deck adorned with white lanterns (and porch heaters combating the crisp March air.) Ladies wearing sandals and light wraps sip sparkling cocktails and nibble on warm hor d’oeuvres teetering on the end of winter and the brink of spring.

That’s the sort of food I crave at the moment. Dishes still rich in comfort and warmth, yet brazenly flaunting spring flavors and seasonal produce. Dishes like Dutch Babies with Mulberry Rhubarb Compote and Chinese Hot Pots offer the coziness of a blanket and the zest to springboard you into a new season.

Clams Casino is just such a dish. Decadent bacon and Parmesan cheese are balanced by vibrant lemon, fresh rosemary and red peppers. The fact that these beautiful clams are served “on the half shell” provides a touch of elegance to an otherwise down-home dish!

These fantastic serving pieces are from Villeroy & Boch’s Flow line!

Cook’s Notes:

I HATE to shuck clams, or any sort of shellfish, and avoid it at all costs. I’ve discovered steaming the clams for just a minute eliminates the need for shucking. Steam them until they are slightly opened. Then twist off the tops, saving the bottom half with the barely cooked clam.

Most shellfish served on the half shell are presented cold, on a bed of ice. These are piping hot when you offer them to your guests. A creative way to serve Clams Casino, so they don’t teeter around, is to lay them on a bed of dried grains or beans. These dried split-peas made a lovely and functional bed!

Preparation:

Fill a large pot with 2 inches of water and a place a steaming basket over the top.  Place the pot over high heat. Once boiling, add the clams to the basket and cover for 1-3 minutes, until just barely opened.

Open the clams and twist off the top shell. Lay the bottom with the clam on a baking sheet. Repeat with the rest.

Heat a large skillet over medium. Add the chopped bacon and cook until brown. Add the red pepper, shallot, garlic and rosemary. Sauté another 3-5 minutes until the onions are soft, then add the panko breadcrumbs. Once the breadcrumbs are toasted, squeeze the lemon juice over the top and taste for salt and pepper.

Scoop the bacon mixture on top of the clams, distributing evenly.

Sprinkle a little Parmesan cheese over the tops. Bake for approximately 5-6 minutes—until the tops are crisp.

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Yield: 2 dozen

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 12-14 minutes

Clams Casino

Ingredients:

24 littleneck clams
5-6 oz. bacon, chopped
1 small red pepper, diced
1 large shallot, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. fresh chopped rosemary
1+ Tb. fresh lemon juice
½ cup panko breadcrumbs
1/8 cup Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Fill a large pot with 2 inches of water and a place a steaming basket over the top. Place the pot over high heat. Once boiling, add the clams to the basket and cover for 1-3 minutes, until just barely opened.

Open the clams and twist off the top shell. Lay the bottom with the clam on a baking sheet. Repeat with the rest.

Heat a large skillet over medium. Add the chopped bacon and cook until brown. Add the red pepper, shallot, garlic and rosemary.

Sauté another 3-5 minutes until the onions are soft, then add the panko breadcrumbs. Once the breadcrumbs are toasted, squeeze the lemon juice over the top and taste for salt and pepper.

Scoop the bacon mixture on top of the clams, distributing evenly.

Sprinkle a little Parmesan cheese over the tops. Bake for approximately 5-6 minutes—until the tops are crisp. Serve warm.

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63 Responses to “Clams Casino”

  1. #
    1
    Terese — March 7, 2011 @ 7:15 am

    The photos are awesome, Sommer!!! When’s dinner? ;-)

    Reply

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    Belinda @zomppa — March 7, 2011 @ 8:35 am

    What time did you say dinner was, y’all??? I’m there!!

    Reply

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    sonia — March 7, 2011 @ 9:01 am

    Awesome dish and beautiful pictures. Simply wow… !

    Reply

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    Tricia @ Saving room for dessert — March 7, 2011 @ 9:32 am

    I’m with Terese, Sonia and Belinda … what time is dinner and when is the next food photography class? I would have never dreamed I could make something like that but you make it look so easy. Happy Monday :)

    Reply

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    carolinaheartstrings — March 7, 2011 @ 9:37 am

    Wow, does that look wonderful. When’s party I will be right over!

    Reply

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    Roxan — March 7, 2011 @ 9:52 am

    Whoa, Sommer these are so cute and fancy looking! My husband would LOVE them. I have to make these for him…

    Reply

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    Fresh and Foodie — March 7, 2011 @ 10:10 am

    This is stunning! What a beautiful presentation on the lentils — the colors just pop! I’ve never had clams casino, but I’d love to try yours.

    Reply

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    Adriana — March 7, 2011 @ 10:32 am

    I love the outdoor pictures and the platter, but not more than the tips on opening the clams without shucking and the recipe itself. Wow!

    Reply

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    Sprinkled With Flour — March 7, 2011 @ 10:51 am

    Oh, yes please! I adore clams, and this recipe has my mouth watering:) I love the flavors here. Beautiful photos too!

    Reply

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    Liz — March 7, 2011 @ 11:33 am

    Beautiful presentation! I sure wish my family would eat clams…this dish looks amazing!

    Reply

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    Ollie McKay's — March 7, 2011 @ 12:24 pm

    OMG ~ I am lusting after this meal! This looks and sounds so delicious!! My hubby will LOVE it!! So glad I somehow (??) landed on your Blog ~ now a follower for sure! Happy Monday to all!

    Reply

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    Claudia — March 7, 2011 @ 1:02 pm

    I haven’t had these in ages – what a grand wake-up call. Mind you, I am surrounded by snow – but oh that looks good. (I never shuck the clams either – I always scrub and steam).

    Reply

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    Cheryl and Adam @ pictureperfectmeals.com — March 7, 2011 @ 1:47 pm

    Great photos, beautiful presentation and delicious recipe, as usual! Love the mix of “down-home” and elegance. Great post!

    Reply

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    Chef Dennis — March 7, 2011 @ 1:51 pm

    hi Sommer
    those clams Casino look outrageously delicious! they are truly a classic dish that you do not see often enough.
    There is something so special about the combination of flavors that makes it impossible to eat just one or two. I do have a little trick for you, place the clams in the freezer for an hour or so and they will open just a little bit by themselves, making shucking them unnecessary! that’s how I make them anymore, and they do freeze well after they’ve been stuff too!
    Cheers
    Dennis

    Reply

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    Katie@Cozydelicious — March 7, 2011 @ 2:06 pm

    I love love love the steaming tip! So much better than fighting with a closed clam. Thank you! And I adore clams casino… they somehow feel very retro, probably because my grandmother served them. But your presentation with the dry lentils is so fresh and modern, it’s perfect!

    Reply

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    Angie's Recipes — March 7, 2011 @ 2:23 pm

    Beautiful presentation! Believe me, I could have finished at least half of the serving plate…looks so tasty and pretty.

    Reply

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    Cherine — March 7, 2011 @ 2:28 pm

    What a gorgeous plate!! Looks wonderful!

    Reply

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    Megan — March 7, 2011 @ 3:05 pm

    What a delightful outdoor get together! I am gazing at the frosty rain here in KC today and wishing I could be there enjoying these instead. Looks gorgeous!

    Reply

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    sweetlife — March 7, 2011 @ 3:36 pm

    i love garden parties, a perfect treat to nibble on as we sip on cocktails..yummy sommer!!

    sweetlife

    Reply

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    Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking — March 7, 2011 @ 4:01 pm

    Sommer, you have such a beautiful blog and I’m so glad to have found it! This clams dish looks absolutely delicious. I’m looking forward to exploring your recipes and seeing more! :)

    Reply

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    Juliana — March 7, 2011 @ 6:54 pm

    Sommer, your clams look delicious…you really got my mouth watering…love the idea of topping it will all the yummie stuff. Beautifully done. Hope you have a wonderful week ahead :-)

    Reply

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    5 Star Foodie — March 7, 2011 @ 7:37 pm

    These clams are just gorgeous, wonderful with bacon & lemon/rosemary flavors!

    Reply

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    elle marie — March 7, 2011 @ 7:43 pm

    Beautiful tables-cape… have not had clams casino in ages.. my Mr. would absolutely love this dish, he is a sea/fish person more than poultry and red meats.. beautiful lighting!!!

    Reply

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    bunkycooks — March 7, 2011 @ 7:45 pm

    These are beautiful photos. My hubs loves Clams Casino. Thank you for the inspiration.

    Reply

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    Pachecopatty — March 7, 2011 @ 7:53 pm

    I love your description of an early spring evening with an appetizers on the deck kind of dinner party. My husband loves clams casino and I would be very popular in my household if I made and served your recipe at a party, thanks for sharing it;-)

    Reply

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    Lora @cakeduchess — March 7, 2011 @ 8:39 pm

    Sommer-This is one of my favorite party foods! Your clams looks fabulous! Love the bacon mixture..must’ve been just perfect!!:)

    Reply

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    Sanura @ MyLifeRunsOnnFood.com — March 7, 2011 @ 9:32 pm

    Seafood seems intimating at first, but it’s easy to prepare. I love dropping clams in Italian tomato sauces.

    Reply

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    denise @ bread expectations — March 7, 2011 @ 11:16 pm

    Oh my, my my! Gorgeous clams and the name is just fabulous dahling! Love the bed of lentils idea and those V & B dishes are completely to die for!

    Reply

  29. #
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    Eileen — March 8, 2011 @ 7:33 am

    Beautiful pics Sommer. My mom use to make clams casino. I’m not a clams fan but yours looks good!

    Reply

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    Lindsay @Eat, Knit, Grow — March 8, 2011 @ 7:36 am

    I’ve only recently started liking clams, but bacon always makes it better, so I bet I would love those! They look fantastic!

    Reply

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    Geni — March 8, 2011 @ 10:12 am

    Oh gosh, those look delicious, and your photos are beautiful! I wish I had a platter of those for dinner tonight instead of a bowl of oatmeal!

    Reply

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    Kristen — March 8, 2011 @ 10:37 am

    I imagine your guests never leave hungry! What a great dish to serve.

    Reply

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    Steve @ HPD — March 8, 2011 @ 10:57 am

    Love love love the lentils on the serving plate. What a great idea. Cheers!

    Reply

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    Tanvi@Sinfully Spicy — March 8, 2011 @ 1:26 pm

    I love the idea of outdoor food gatherings too.Love the second picture from top.Everything looks delicious.

    Reply

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    Kate @ Diethood.com — March 8, 2011 @ 2:15 pm

    Your description of a get together in the backyard sounds like an invitation… when should I be there? ;-)
    Those clams are drool-worthy… Beautiful food, amazing photos!

    Reply

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    Lot-O-Choc — March 8, 2011 @ 3:01 pm

    Oh yum, ive never had clams before, I would love to try these ones that youve made, I might have to think about getting some!

    Reply

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    Susi — March 8, 2011 @ 4:12 pm

    My whole family loves seafood and clams are one of our favorites. Clams casino make for such an elegant appetizer that is always well received. Yours look mouthwatering delicious. Love your trick with the lentils!

    Reply

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    A little bit of everything — March 8, 2011 @ 6:31 pm

    your description of the get together makes me call some of my friends over and have a small party.
    lovely photos Sommer

    Reply

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    Valerie — March 8, 2011 @ 6:39 pm

    These look amazing:) haven’t had them in sooo long!

    Reply

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    torviewtoronto — March 8, 2011 @ 8:09 pm

    beautiful presentation looks yummy

    Reply

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    wizzythestick — March 8, 2011 @ 8:44 pm

    What an impressive spread!

    Reply

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    Christina @ Sweet Pea's Kitchen — March 8, 2011 @ 10:07 pm

    Love the photos…they look incredible! I can’t wait for spring and to try out this amazing looking recipe Mmmm…. :)

    Reply

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    Kankana — March 9, 2011 @ 1:21 am

    They looks soo delicious! Last time I made Clam it was a disaster :( have to buy them again and this time I will follow your recipe ..

    Reply

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    Trish — March 9, 2011 @ 9:57 am

    What beautiful photos and the flavors in this dish sound wonderful. Now I’m craving seafood for lunch.

    Reply

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    Cheryl and Adam @ pictureperfectmeals.com — March 9, 2011 @ 10:57 am

    Sommer, you have such beautiful photography and so many delicious recipes we simply have to pass the One Lovely Blog Award on to you! Thanks for all you share with us all! http://picture-perfectmeals.blogspot.com/2011/03/wed-like-to-thank-academy.html

    Reply

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    Rosa — March 9, 2011 @ 12:32 pm

    I’ve never had clams and I am no sure if I would like them, but your presentation and dish are just mindblowing! It looks yummy.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

    Reply

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    Lawyer Loves Lunch — March 9, 2011 @ 3:18 pm

    What a great snack for an outdoor (or indoor) party! The idea of cold seafood is kinda disconcerting for me (I know, I can never eat oysters or even shrimp cocktail) so I was onboard as soon as you mentioned that these are served piping hot! :)

    Reply

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    Lisa @ Tarte du Jour — March 9, 2011 @ 5:25 pm

    Sommer,
    Lovely photos…. this looks like it would be good Florida food! (where I’m from) So delectable…. you inspire me!

    Reply

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    Marisa — March 9, 2011 @ 10:46 pm

    I really like your idea of steaming the clams to let them open a little–I’ve got to try that because I also can’t stand shucking them. These came out so lovely–they look great on top of those split peas!

    Reply

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    Monet — March 9, 2011 @ 11:12 pm

    This should be in a magazine. Your photographs are just stunning! I want a spring garden party now…with these clams! Thank you for sharing this loveliness tonight. I hope that tomorrow is full of happy moments, joyful conversation and plates of satisfying food!

    Reply

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    Cristina, from Buenos Aires to Paris — March 10, 2011 @ 1:53 am

    I loved your description of a spring dinner…! My first time with your clams casino..Wait for me!! How much is a plane ticket to your place??!!

    Reply

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    Chris and Amy — March 10, 2011 @ 1:48 pm

    Great idea to steam them first. These clams look lovely and make us long for spring!!!

    Reply

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    Magic of Spice — March 10, 2011 @ 5:08 pm

    What cleaver tips, and I loving these beauties!

    Reply

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    Stevie — March 10, 2011 @ 7:37 pm

    Clams Casino are wonderful. I really like the name and the dish. I don’t eat “land animals.” How do you think these would work without bacon? Is there a pescatarian substitute that you could recommend?

    Reply

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    Victoria @ Mission: Food — March 11, 2011 @ 1:31 pm

    I agree that shucking clams can be annoying, and I’ve used that same trick before! Excellent. I also love how you served these over split-peas, a great alternative to rock salt and definitely more colorful!

    Reply

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    A Canadian Foodie — March 12, 2011 @ 3:26 pm

    Beautiful photos, presentation and yummy recipe!!!
    :)
    valerie

    Reply

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    Sprinkled With Flour — March 12, 2011 @ 7:11 pm

    When you get a chance, stop by and pick up a couple of awards at my blog:)

    Reply

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    blackbookkitchendiaries — March 15, 2011 @ 3:49 pm

    you are truly talented my friend! i love how delicious this dish looks! and your photos are just amazing!

    Reply

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    Maris (In Good Taste) — March 28, 2011 @ 8:13 am

    What beautiful pictures. Sad to say the extent of my cooking with clams comes from a can :(

    Reply

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    Kulsum at JourneyKitchen — March 28, 2011 @ 10:34 am

    Outdoor gatherings are my thing! To be honest I love cooking and eating outdoors and you have done such a marvelous job/

    Reply

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    Cookin' Canuck — May 14, 2011 @ 9:24 pm

    What a beautiful presentation. Cheese, bacon and clams – now that is entertaining at its best.

    Reply

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    Hyosun Ro — December 31, 2011 @ 12:02 pm

    I missed this in March, but thanks for the reminder in Facebook. This looks amazing. Book marked. Making them for my New Year’s eve appetizer.

    Reply

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