Clams Casino

A great dish found in every seafood and traditional Italian restaurant in the Northeast, clams casino is almost never encountered in New Orleans. I wish it were. It the best dish I ever had using clams. It’s also more than a little good with oysters (particularly smaller ones) or mussels. If you don’t have shells, you can make this equally well in small au gratin dishes.

  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1/4 lb. smoky bacon, preferably thick
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup green onions, tender parts only, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery
  • 1/4 tsp. thyme
  • 1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated plain bread crumbs
  • 2 dozen large clams or oysters, with shells

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

1. Fry the bacon until very crisp. Remove the bacon and crumble. Pour off all but about 2 Tbs. of the rendered fat.

2. Add the butter and bring to a bubble over medium heat. Add the bacon, garlic, green onions, celery, thyme, and crushed red pepper, and cook until the onions are soft.

3. Add the white wine, lemon juice, and Worcestershire, and bring to a boil. Reduce until very little liquid remains, then removed from the heat. Stir 1/4 cup of bread crumbs into the sauce.

4. Place a clam in each shell and top with enough sauce to fill the shell level. Then top with about 1 tsp. of the bread crumbs.

5. Bake in a preheated 450-degree oven for between 12 and 15 minutes, until the bread crumbs are browned and the sauce is bubbly. Serve very hot, and with a warning about that. And a glass of good Sauvignon Blanc.

Serves four.

2 Readers Commented

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  1. C.J. Voelkel on July 24, 2015

    Tom, if you use large clams for this recipe without chopping or grinding them, you’ll be chewing them from now until St. Swithin’s Day. Baking them in a hot oven for 12 to 15 minutes would tend to vulcanize them. Most restaurants along the Jersey Shore will grind or mince the larger (over about 2 1/4-inch diameter) clams for this dish.
    C.J.V. – and the smaller clams are usually served raw on the half shell, them

    • Tom Fitzmorris on July 25, 2015

      I know that about clams, and I only eat the small ones, as you advise.

      Tastefully yours,
      Tom Fitzmorris