baked clams with basil breadcrumbs
photo by Jennifer Jeanne Adams
When there's an abundance of basil in the garden, I love to use it in just about everything—from a simple pesto for grilled fish, to tossing into a salad, to this, one of my favorite recipes for weekend guests.
- 1 cup chopped fresh breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
- 1/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons white wine
- 2-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 12 hard-shell clams (littlenecks or cherrystones), scrubbed
- Lemon wedges, for garnish, optional
- Position a rack in center of oven. Set broiler to high.
- Make breadcrumbs. In bowl of a food processor, add breadcrumbs, basil, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Pulse until coarse crumbs form. Transfer mixture to a bowl and stir in white wine and enough olive oil to evenly moisten mixture (you want it pretty wet). Set aside.
- Arrange clams on a rimmed baking sheet. Broil until clams open, about 5 minutes. Remove clams and allow to cool.
- Meanwhile, pour any collected clam juice from baking sheet into a measuring cup. Set aside.
- Remove top shell of clams and return opened clams to baking sheet. Run a spoon (or paring knife) underneath each clam to loosen it from its bottom shell.
- Divide breadcrumb mixture among clams, mounding each clam evenly with mixture. Drizzle top of each clam with a bit of reserved clam juice and season with salt and pepper. Broil clams until tops are just browned, 2-3 minutes. Serve warm with lemon wedges (if using).
cook's note: There are three common varieties of hard-shell clams: chowder, cherrystones littlenecks. For this recipe, I prefer to use either cherrystones or littlenecks, because they are smaller and make for an easier bite-sized appetizer.