Baked Clams Oreganata
Food Trend: I love that the new trend in Italian Restaurants is going back to “Old School” Red-Sauce joints. Crisp white tablecloths, the smell of garlic and a waiter with a thick accent and perhaps a tux…this makes me crave two things…fried calamari and baked clams. I’ll save the Calamari for another time, this post is about the Baked Clams!!
Inspiration: A good friend of mine described my food photos as “classics-gone-fancy”. So when he was coming over for dinner I wanted to show him that I could make a straight up classic, no bells and whistles.
Adaptation: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. See above inspiration…no adaptation here…I went with a traditional preparation.
PREP PHOTOS & TIPS
When making your breadcrumb mix, you should add enough liquid to make the mixture wet, but not drenched. It will look mealy like this.
You want to cover your clams with the breadcrumb mixture making sure to really pack in the breadcrumbs and sealing the edges so the clams stay moist.
Here is a close up on how it should look
Line your clams on a baking sheet with about a 1/2 inch of water drizzled on the pan. This also helps keep the clams moist. Remember to put the water down first so you don’t spill water on your clam
You will know that your clams are done when they have a beautiful golden color
Divide and Serve Equally on plates. Garnish with Lemon and Fresh Parsley
So beautiful and so delicious
Baked Clams Oreganata
Traditional Baked Clams Oreganata
2 Dozen Fresh Little Neck Clams, Scrubbed
2 Cups Bread Crumbs
6 Garlic Cloves
4 Tablespoons Oregano - Finely Chopped
4 Tablespoons Parsley - Finely Chopped
1 Tablespoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
4 Tablespoons EVOO
1 Cup Chicken Stock
Salt, to taste (but about a teaspoon)
Option 1: Open yourself (if you know how)
Option 2: You can ask your fish monger to do this
Option 3: Line clams on a sheet tray and put them in a HOT 450 degrees oven for about 3-4 minutes to slightly open the clams. Then carefully open them with a clam knife (or butter or dulled dinner knife. Separate the clam from the abductor either and place back in 1/2 of the shell. Discard top shell.
Combine dry ingredients (bread crumbs, garlic, parsley, oregano, red pepper flakes & salt) in a bowl. Add olive oil and stir until the mixture starts to get clumpy. Then slowly add chicken stock until the mixture gets wet. Taste, add more salt if necessary.
Pour about a 1/2 inch of water on the bottom of a baking sheet. Squeeze lemon on each clam, then pack each clam with the bread crumb mixture. Make sure you pack the bread crumbs so it covers the edges - this will keep the clam moist.
Preheat your broiler (if you have racks, move your oven rack to the top most level). Cook clams in the broiler for 8 to 9 minutes or until the bread crumbs have a golden brown (but not burnt) color. You can check after 7 minutes to see how they are looking.
Divide on plates and serve with lemon and extra parsley.
Feeling saucy? Traditionalists like the clams straight up, others want theirs in a sauce. So if you are feeling saucy, while your clams are baking you can making a quick sauce by sauteing EVOO, garlic, lemon, white wine, parsley & butter.
Your other option is to cook your clams in a nicer baking dish. Mix white wine, lemon, EVOO, garlic and parsley in a bowl. Then put sauce on the bottom of your baking dish (instead of the water) and the sauce will cook with the clams. Then you can spoon the sauce on your serving dish, or serve family style.
Press Worthy Eats http://www.pressworthyeats.com/