These little bites will be a real hit at your next appy party! Experiment with different styles of bacon, as this is the main flavor. The bacon suggested here gives the dish a spicy, smoky twist that is guaranteed to raise eyebrows!
36 littleneck clams, scrubbed
½ pound Hickory-smoked pepper bacon (about 8 to 10 slices)
4 to 5 green onions, thinly sliced, about ½ cup
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
½ cup Panko breadcrumbs (also known as Japanese breadcrumbs)
2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated, about ½ cup, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil
Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Place the scrubbed clams onto a baking sheet with a lip. Roast the clams until they begin to open, but are still raw, about 2 to 5 minutes.
Layer another baking sheet with rock salt (also called ice cream salt - the course texture of this salt will help to hold the clams in place). Use a butter knife to pry open the clam shell. Snap off the top shell and loosen the clam from the bottom shell. Place the clams onto the baking sheet with the rock salt. Continue with all of the clams. (You may want to use a towel to hold the clams while you open them – those shells are SHARP!!)
Cook the bacon in a skillet. Drain on paper towels. Remove the pan from the heat and let it cool down. Discard all but 1 tablespoon of the drippings. Place the bacon into the bowl of a food processor and pulse into crumbs.
Heat the skillet with the reserved bacon drippings over medium heat. Add the onions and fresh herbs. Cook for 1 minutes to just blend the flavors. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the breadcrumbs and half of the Parmesan cheese.
Heat the oven on the broil setting. Mound a spoonful of filling on top of each clam. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle the remaining Parmesan cheese over each one. Broil the clams for 2 to 3 minutes, or until just golden. Serve the clams on the baking sheet.
Servings: 12 (3 per person)
Preparation Time: 20 to 30 minutes, depending on how good you get with the clam shells
Cook Time: 10 minutes for the bacon, 1 minute for the filling and a few minutes to broil the clams
Sources and Substitutions
If you are game, you might want to try out some of the specialty bacon that you can find on-line. For this recipe I purchased Bourbon Street- Cajun Hickory Smoked Bacon from the Bacon Freak Store. It was delicious.