Bacon Parmesan Stuffed Clams

I’m a big fan of shellfish, but I don’t make it all that often. Anyway, tonight, I had a bag of 12 Cherrystone clams, and they were basically begging to be stuffed. They are my favourite clam for stuffing because of how large they are, which means that you get stuffed clams for a lot less work than you’d have to do if you were using smaller clams (although if you’re into that, this recipe works for smaller types as well). Tonight, I opted to stuff these with bacon and freshly sliced Parmesan cheese, but the possibilities are nearly endless. For example, you can use diced tomatoes, caramelized onion, cumin, chili powder, jack cheese, and then top it with a jalapeno for a Mexican style stuffed clam…or mix it with sliced kimchi, pork belly, and bean sprouts for a Korean style. It is hard to go wrong.

Now, when I say it’s hard to go wrong, that is sort of a lead in to a brief discussion on the pitfalls of trial and error cooking. When I made tonight’s meal, I had already done yard work and gone for a run, so the time was getting late, and I opted to try cutting a corner or two. While it didn’t hurt the flavour, it resulted in a less than ideal texture. Therefore, I’m writing the “method” section for what I would do differently to avoid that little snafu next time. As such, the last “method” picture and the final picture don’t perfectly reflect the recipe…but they are directionally accurate!

Time: 35 Minutes

Ingredients:

  • Cherrystone Clams (or any other clam you prefer)
  • Bacon (2 slices works for every 6 clams)
  • Parmesan Cheese (fresh is best, but grated in the big plastic silo in the fridge will do)
  • Bread Crumbs
  • Lemon Juice (I squeezed about a quarter lemon for this meal)
  • A little butter
  • Seasonings of your choice to top everything off (I used smoked paprika and dried parsley)

Method:

  • Wash all of the sand and grit off your clams, and place them into a large pan. Add water to the pan until the clams are almost covered.
  • Heat the pan on the stove top until each of the clams has opened. They’ll all open at roughly the same time (within a minute or so of each other)…if any don’t open by them, discard those ones, and only use the ones that did open.
  • While you’re boiling your clams, slice and fry your bacon, and set aside when done.
  • When your clams open, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Working carefully so you don’t burn yourself, remove each clam from the shell, and separate the shells, discarding the bottoms (where the feet are attached) and setting the tops aside.
  • Dice your clams, and mix them with your cooked bacon slices. Add a few bread crumbs to the mix, and squirt in some lemon juice as well.
  • Scoop your mix back into the shells you kept, and top with a little butter, your cheese, and your selected seasonings.
  • Then, put the clams back into the oven to heat for about 10 minutes until the filling is hot, and the butter and cheese have melted.
  • Plate, devour, and enjoy!

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