So after talking about how lots of American dishes like stuffed mushrooms and baked clams use too many breadcrumbs, I got an intense craving for, well, baked clams. I mean the kind with lots of breading. I’m not talking about a brief, passing hankering either. I mean an intense obsession. When my wife asked me if I had dropped off the dry cleaning, I replied “I like baked clams. The kind with lots of breading.”
So Pura Vida at the Union Square Greenmarket has had some of the most delicious clams I’ve ever tasted. Maybe others can weigh in on whether this has something to do with the season or something like that. They are sweet, fresh and not at all fishy. They are much like the clams I sometimes get on the Maine coast in the summer but lately, I think they’ve been even better (sorry New England roots).
Here is a simple and inexpensive way to enjoy these yummy mollusks. You don’t need much water in the pot because the clams themselves will release a fair amount of liquid when they open.
Baked Clams with Lots of Breadcrumbs (6 per person)
Farmers Market Bill $7 + leftover breadcrumbs /2 servings = $3.50 per serving
Preheat Oven to 400 Degrees
Bring a cup of water to a boil in a large stock pot
Rinse or scrub 12 clams and add them to the pot and cover.
Steam for 5 minutes or so and take them out of the water as they open.
Melt 3 tablespoons or so of local butter (pastured if you can get it) and add a cup and a half of breadcrumbs and mix together
Remove the tops of the clams and detach the clam from the bottom shell (not hard to do)
Lay the clams out in a baking dish and spoon a heaping tablespoon of the breadcrumb mixture on top of each one
Bake in oven for 6 minutes or until the tops are nicely browned.
Take these out when they look good to you. Everything is already cooked so there’s no need to worry about cooking everything through. You could also prepare them earlier and throw them in the oven later on. If you want a fun variation, you could add some diced slab bacon to the breadcrumb mixture or an egg and some chopped herbs (parsley or whatever you have around). I would also squeeze some lemon on top at the end or even drizzle a little vinegar. I’d love to hear some other variations that you guys like.