Diggin’ Clams

~ by Jessica Taryn Daub ~

The humble clam. Unpretentious and drab, these little bivalves have been a staple in the diet of coastal northeasterners for centuries. They bring the essence of the sea to your table and can be made the hero of an innumerable amount of dishes. Whether eaten raw or fried, with pasta, stuffed, or on pizza, there are few things that conjure a New England summer by the ocean than fresh clams. Pick some up today and dig in with these fantastic recipes.

Drunken Clams

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 lbs spicy Italian sausage, removed from casing
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 1 medium sized head of fennel, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken stock
  • 2 dozen little neck clams, rinsed and cleaned
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  1. In a large skillet over medium heat add olive oil. Once the oil is hot add in sausage and begin to brown. Make sure to break up the sausage as it cooks. As the sausage begins to brown, add in shallots and fennel. Continue cooking until the vegetables start to soften and the sausage is no longer pink.
  2. Add in garlic and cook until fragrant. Pour in the white wine and cook down half way, then add in chicken stock and stir to combine.
  3. Place clean raw clams on top of mixture, slightly pushing them into the stock. Cover and let cook for about 8 minutes or until completely opened. Discard any clams that do not open.
  4. Carefully remove the opened clams from the dish and add cream to the sausage mixture. Cook for 5 minutes and either add the clams back to the dish for serving or divide clams equally between bowls and pour the hot sausage/broth mixture overtop.

Old-Fashioned Stuffed Baked Clams

  • 12 large clams, well scrubbed
  • 1/3 cup fine dried bread crumbs
  • 2 oz. bacon, finely chopped
  • 2 medium shallots, minced
  • 1 small green bell pepper, minced
  • 1 small red bell pepper, minced
  • 3 Tbsp. grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 3 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 4 Tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • lemon wedges for serving fresh
  • dill for garnish
  1. Preheat the oven to 450F
  2. Wash the clams and steam them in boiling water just until the shells open. Discard any clams that do not open. Remove the clams from their shells; reserve the shells. Rinse the clams in the broth and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shallots, garlic, and red and green bell peppers. Cook, stirring often, until soft.
  4. Add the bacon and cook, stirring frequently, until heated and fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Stir in the breadcrumbs, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, chopped parsley, salt, paprika and pepper.
  5. Place 12 clam shells on a baking dish. Lay a clean steamed clam in a shell and spoon the stuffing mixture on a top, sprinkle with cheese, and dot with butter.
  6. Bake the stuffed clams until the crumbs are lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately arrange on a platter or warmed individual plates. Serve with the lemon wedges and fresh dill.

Grilled White Pizza with Clams and Bacon

  • 12 ounces shucked clams, coarsely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp dried crushed red pepper
  • 3 1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 3 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice, divided
  • 3 Tbsp. semolina flour or polenta
  • 1 lbs refrigerated prepared pizza dough, at room temperature
  • 8 ounces shedded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
  • 4 cooked bacon slices, crumbled
  • 1 cup fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/8 tsp kosher salt
  1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Combine first 3 ingredients, plus 1 Tbsp. oil, and 1 Tbsp. lemon juice in a small bowl. Let stand 15 minutes. Sprinkle semolina flour evenly over a large, rimless baking sheet. Place pizza dough on baking sheet, and pat into a 14 inch circle.
  2. Brush grill grates with oil, and slide pizza dough onto the grates. Grill, covered with grill lid, 2 minutes or until grill marks appear. Slide baking sheet under dough on grill, and reduce heat to medium, sprinkle dough evenly with mozzarella, leaving a 3/4 inch border. Top with clam mixture, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and bacon. Grill covered with grill lid until cheese melts and crust is lightly browned.
  3. Meanwhile, combine parsley, salt, and remaining 1/2 tsp, each oil and lemon juice in a small bowl. Remove pizza from grill, and top with parsley mixture, serve immediately.