By Chef John Ash
This is one of the classic recipes using clams. Try to get smaller clams since they are more tender. You can also use this same approach with fresh oysters. The Sonoma Cutrer Rosé of Pinot Noir would be delicious with these.
Total Time 45 minutes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Difficulty Level Medium
1/2 lb thick cut bacon, finely chopped
1 c finely chopped red bell pepper
1/2 c finely chopped fresh poblano chile
1 tbsp minced garlic
Finely ground black pepper
1/3 c chopped scallions including the green tops
1 tbsp lemon juice
2/3 cup panko bread crumbs
30 littleneck clams, well scrubbed
Add a few drops of olive oil to a sauté pan and heat over medium heat. Add bacon and cook, stirring until bacon is brown and nearly crisp, about 4 minutes. Set bacon aside. Add bell pepper, poblano and garlic to pan and season lightly with salt and pepper.
Cook until vegetables have softened a bit. Add mixture to bacon along with scallions, lemon juice and half of the bread crumbs. Toss remaining bread crumbs with a few drops of olive oil.
Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Pour enough coarse salt onto a baking sheet to make a base for the clams. This will prevent them from tipping and losing their juices. Shuck the clams leaving them in the bottom shells but running your knife under the clams to release the meat.
Top each clam with a teaspoon or so of the bacon mixture and the some of the oiled bread crumbs. Nestle them into the salt on the baking sheet.
Bake until bread crumbs are lightly browned and juices are bubbling, about 10 minutes.
Let cool for a minute or so before serving. They’ll be hot!