By Sue Lau | Palatable Pastime
Clams Casino is my recipe of the day with Movies and Munchies, a new blogging group of foodie filmophiles that has reformulated out of Food n’ Flix. Each month, we watch movies, cook, and of course, eat. This month we are revisiting the neoclassic Ocean’s Eleven (2001) with an all-star ensemble cast directed by the amazingly talented Stephen Soderbergh.
Movies and Munchies
Each month we have a differing volunteer group host, who selects our film. Amy of Amy’s Cooking Adventures, one of the group’s founders, has kicked off January by selecting Ocean’s Eleven, starring George Clooney and an ensemble cast. You can view her welcome post for this month’s flick right here.
The premise is that of an elaborate Vegas casino heist, that is seemingly beyond impossible, But our gang of eleven wonders sets out to pull it off, with lots of twists and turns along the way.
While I might typically choose a food that is in the film, I have instead chose clams casino. First for the obvious casino connection. Then because to someone who hasn’t made the appetizer before, it might seem impossibly hard to create.
Surprisingly enough, you won’t need a clam knife and you can amaze your guests with very little effort. Then you can pop that bottle of champagne, grab your nibbles, kick up your feet and relax with Danny Ocean and his gang.
Purging Fresh Clams and Other Shellfish
I definitely recommend purging your shellfish after you buy them and bring them home. This will help remove any sand, dirt and grit that the shells harbor.
To do this, place your clams in cool salt water and let them sit undisturbed for an hour. Most advise to finish here. However, I like to pour that water off and do a second purge for another hour. I have found more grit.
After you pour off the water a second time, scrub the shells under cool running water with a stiff bristle brush, such as you use for vegetables. And that should pretty much do it. Except for mussels where you might have to pull off a seaweed “beard”.
How To Open Clams Without Shucking Them
The next step is to arrange the clams on a baking sheet and place them in an oven at 475F. or under the broiler. This should only take about ten minutes tops. I use the broiler in my toaster oven. What you do is put them in there and wait. They will start to peek open, but in another moment you will hear a “pop” and they will open wide.
Every time you hear one announce it’s arrival, immediately remove that one to a heatproof bowl, being careful not to spill the juices in the shell. You want to save those. The clams will mostly pop at different times.
And if you have one that just will not open, that one gets tossed. You don’t want to eat a bad clam.
Removing Clams From Shells
Working over the bowl to catch clam juice, Twist off the top shell from the clam and set aside. Using a knife, slide the blade under the clam and cut it free from the adductor muscle. Drain the juices into the bowl and put the clam back down into the shell half.
Getting Ready to Bake the Clams
I place a crumpled sheet of foil spread back out to set the clam shells on. This will keep them steady during baking. Once you have all the clams lined up on the tray, strain the clam juice you collected in case there was a shell bit that fell into it. You certainly don’t want to bite down on that!
Prep the Filling for Clams Casino
The filling is done in a skillet. That clam juice you saved will be added to it. When it is cooked and ready just spoon it over the clams. Then finish with the breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese. Just a little bit more baking to heat that up and brown the crumbs and you are all set. Just let the shells cool down a teensy bit so you don’t burn your fingers trying to spoon out your joy. Don’t forget to squeeze the lemon!
You Might Also Like:
Easy Instant Pot Seafood Boil yummy crab along with lobster, shrimp, clams, corn, potatoes and spicy sausage in a garlic butter beer sauce.
Thai green curry mussels in a spicy curry sauce are made easily in your instant pot or electric pressure cooker in a few short minutes.
Baccala soup is a delicious Mediterranean style seafood soup using salt cod (bacalao) and as many shellfish as you desire to make it your own special meal.
Classic Antoine’s style NOLA Oysters Rockefeller using preshucked oysters and no shells make an easy appetizer for entertaining.
Italian spaghetti with shrimp and other shellfish in a flavorful broth that is perfect for dunking slices of toasted baguette.
Caldo de Mariscos is a brothy Mexican soup with fish, shrimp and mixed seafood.
- 1 aluminum foil sheet, (crumpled)
- 2 pounds fresh littleneck clams (about 15)
- salt water
- 1 lemon (cut; for serving)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3 ounces uncooked bacon (chopped)
- 1/4 cup minced shallots
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 cup diced pimiento peppers
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
- 1/4 cup dry vermouth
- 1 tablespoon fine breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese
- Purge clams in salt water, with one water change per hour, then drain off dirty water. Scrub clams under cool water with a stiff brush to clean shells if needed. (they need it)
- Broil clams 5-10 minutes until they pop open, removing each one from the broiler as they do, being careful not to spill the clam juices. If they do spill, collect those from the pan later.
- Working over a bowl to catch clam juices, twist and remove top half of shell, then use a paring knife to cut out the clam. Place clam back in the shell.
- Arrange half-shell clams on a baking sheet lined with crumpled foil. You could also use rock salt if you prefer.
- Brown the chopped bacon in butter in a skillet with the shallots and garlic.
- Stir in the marjoram, salt, and black pepper.
- Pull the pan off the heat and add the vermouth, parsley and pimento peppers.
- Move the pan back on the heat and cook for a few minutes until vermouth vapes off and mix is almost dry.
- Remove pan from heat and add the 1/4 cup of Parmesan and stir to mix.
- Spoon mixture over the clams in the shells.
- Sprinkle the tops with breadcrumbs and a little more cheese.
- Bake at 450F for just a couple of minutes until the cheese melts and the crumbs lightly brown. Do not overbake.
- Sever with cut lemon.
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