Baked Clams on the Half Shell: Vongole Gratinate al Forno

Recipe courtesy Joan Tropiano Tucci and Gianni Scappin with Mimi Shanley Taft, Cucina & Famiglia: Two Italian Families Share their Stories, Recipes, and Traditions, William and Morrow, 1999
Show: An Italian Christmas with Mario & Giada Episode: An Italian Christmas with Mario & Giada
TOTAL TIME: 27 min
Prep: 20 min
Inactive Prep: --
Cook: 7 min
YIELD: 4 to 6 servings
LEVEL: Easy

ingredients

  • c12 topneck clams
  • 1 cup plain dried bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
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Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Scrub the clams under cold running water.

Pry them open and rinse out any sand or grit.

Gently separate the top and bottom shells, loosening and allowing the clam to divide, with some remaining on the top shell and some remaining on the bottom shell.

Use a knife to loosen the clam in the shell, removing any sand or grit that may have been under the clam. All of the clams may not divide evenly between the top and bottom shell. Cut these clams into small pieces and distribute among the other shells. You should have at least 16 clamshell halves to fill and bake. Arrange the clam-filled shells on a baking sheet and set aside.

In a small bowl, toss together the bread crumbs, parsley, and garlic. Use a fork to stir the olive oil into this mixture. It should be moist but not oily. Set aside.

Fill each clam with a portion of the topping mixture, spreading it evenly over the clam to the edge of the shell. The filling should be about 1/8-inch thick.

Bake until the topping begins to brown slightly, about 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and adjust oven temperature to broil. Place the clams under the broiler and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Serve immediately.

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