Clams casino is one of those classic American dishes that inspired me to write this book. I wanted to renew interest in some dishes that were delightful in their original incarnations, but then were overdone, often badly, to such an extent that they fell out of favor. If you make clams casino this way (and this recipe is different from the classic because I don’t crumble the bacon), you’ll understand why it became so popular. Cut the bacon into small slabs, which protects the clams from overcooking while infusing them with its flavor. The bacon crisps up around the edges, giving you a nice contrast of chewy and crisp.–Mark Peel
LC Hurrah For Herb Butter Note
This clams casino recipe starts with a fast and fresh herb butter. The herbs suggested here—chives, parsley, tarragon and garlic—are perfectly suited to these little clams with their bacon blankets. However, if you happened to have a different compound butter already made up, you could easily exercise a little artistic license and experiment with different combinations. And if you haven’t yet ventured into the world of compound butters, our basic compound butter with parsley, lemon and pepper is a safe starting point, although if you’re feeling daring there’s the sweet and fiery chili honey butter. Once you have any of these versatile butters in the fridge, you’ll find that they go with more or less everything.
- 1 tablespoon chopped chives
- 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 1 tablespoon chopped tarragon leaves
- 1/2 small garlic clove green shoot removed, roughly chopped
- Pinch of kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter softened
- 1 1/2 ounces bacon (2 strips)
- Rock salt for the baking sheet (optional)
- 24 cherrystone clams shucked and left on the half shell
- 1/2 lemon
- In a mortar and pestle, mash together the herbs, garlic, salt and pepper. Add the butter and mash together.
- Cook the bacon until just cooked through but not crisp. Remove from the heat and cut in 1-inch pieces.
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF (200ºC). Cover a baking sheet with a 1/2-inch-thick layer of rock salt, if using. Heat in the oven for 5 minutes. Now preheat the broiler.
- Place the clams casinos on top of the salt (this is just to keep them steady). Top each with about 2 drops lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon of the butter mixture. Lay a piece of bacon over the top. (The clams casino can be prepped ahead of time up to this point.)
- Place the clams under the broiler for 2 to 3 minutes, until the butter is sizzling. Serve the clams casino immediately.
Originally published November 02, 2009