If my family were to have to choose which of the Seven Fishes they couldn’t live without on Christmas Eve, I’m pretty sure this is what they’d pick. When I think about how many baked clams we go through on Christmas Eve, it’s absurd – my brother can wipe out a couple dozen himself! We always make more than we need and whatever is leftover gets served on Christmas Day.
FOR THE BREADCRUMB FILLING:
- 4 tablespoons ½ stick salted butter
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 4 large cloves garlic, grated on a microplane
- 2 cups plain breadcrumbs
- ½ cup pecorino
- ¼ cup parsley, rough chopped
FOR THE CLAMS:
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 3 to 4 sprigs parsley
- 4 large cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 4 dozen littleneck clams, scrubbed
- Olive oil, for drizzling
- MAKE THE BREADCRUMB FILLING. In a small saucepan, combine the butter, oil and garlic.
- Cook over medium heat until the butter is melted and the garlic is fragrant; remove from the heat and let steep for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, combine the breadcrumbs, pecorino and parsley; stir to combine.
- Add the butter mixture to the breadcrumbs and stir to combine.
- MAKE THE CLAMS. Preheat an oven to 450 degrees.
- Meanwhile, in a large stock pot, add 2 cups of water.
- Add the wine, parsley, garlic, and Worcestershire.
- Cover and bring to a boil over high heat.
- Add half the clams and cook, covered, until they open, about 5-10 minutes. Remove the clams as they open to avoid overcooking them. *SEE NOTE
- Remove the clams from the cooking liquid and repeat with the remaining clams.
- Strain the steaming liquid through a fine mesh strainer fitted with a coffee filter; reserve.
- Once cool enough to handle, rinse the clams under cold water to remove any grit.
- Twist the shell to separate the two halves. Discard the empty shells.
- Place the shell containing the clam onto a sheet pan.
- Spoon the breadcrumb mixture over the clams, filling each generously.
- Carefully add a ½ cup of the served liquid onto the sheet pan.
- Bake until lightly golden brown, about 6 minutes.
- Transfer to a serving dish, drizzle with the oil and some of the hot poaching liquid.
The size of the clams will dictate the amount of time it takes them to open. Discard any clams that do not open.
You can prepare the clams and stuff them the day before. Line them on sheet pans and cover with foil. Put the poaching liquid in a separate container and refrigerate both until ready to cook. You may need to add a couple extra minutes to the cooking time.