Clams Casino is an easy, light appetizer that makes a perfect prelude to just about any Italian-inspired meal. It's a simple preparation that combines bacon, sautéed shallots, red bell pepper, parsley and white wine to make a tasty topping for littleneck clams.
- 2 dozen littleneck clams
- 2 slices thick cut bacon, finely chopped
- 1/2 medium shallot, finely chopped (about 1 tablespoon)
- 1/2 medium red bell pepper, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons dry white wine
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
- Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the broiler for at least 5 minutes. Line a shallow baking pan with aluminum foil and arrange the clams in a single layer.
- Broil for 5 to 7 minutes, using tongs to remove a few clams at a time as they open to avoid overcooking. Pour the juices that have accumulated in the baking pan into a small bowl.
- Once the clams are cool enough to handle, remove and discard the top shells, then use a paring knife to cut through the connecting muscle to loosen the meat from each. Return them to the baking pan and set aside.
- Turn off the broiler and heat the oven to 400°F.
- Fry the bacon until browned in a large skillet. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat, reduce the heat to medium, then add the shallot and bell pepper. Sauté just until the bell pepper is tender and the shallots are fragrant, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Deglaze the pan with the white wine, scraping up any browned bits that may have accumulated on the bottom of the pan. Stir in the reserved clam juices and continue cooking until the liquid has evaporated, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the parsley and remove from the heat.
- Spoon a portion of the bacon mixture over each clam and return to the oven just long enough to ensure that the clams are heated through, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately.
If desired, you can sprinkle a few panko crumbs and a little grated parmesan cheese on top of each clam before baking.