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EatingWell Test Kitchen
“Lean Canadian bacon, Parmesan cheese and an aromatic blend of chopped vegetables and herbs give our baked, stuffed clams so much flavor and crunch that you won't even miss the 6 tablespoons of butter that typically goes into this classic appetizer. They make a fabulous starter for a dinner party or a light summer entree with a fresh salad.”
18 littleneck clams, scrubbed
2 bay leaves
½ cup water
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium shallots, minced
1 small green bell pepper, minced
2 ounces Canadian bacon, finely chopped (about ½ cup)
2 teaspoons white-wine vinegar
¾ cup fresh breadcrumbs, preferably whole-wheat (see Tip)
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano, or 1 teaspoon dried
½ teaspoon smoked or regular paprika, (see Ingredient Note)
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1Preheat oven to 450°F.
2Place clams, bay leaves and water in a large pot; cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook the clams until they open, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain in a colander. (Discard any clams that do not open.) Discard the bay leaves.
3Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and bell pepper; cook, stirring often, until soft, 2 to 3 minutes. Add Canadian bacon; cook, stirring frequently, until heated and fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in vinegar; transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Stir in breadcrumbs, Parmesan, chives, oregano, paprika and pepper.
4Remove clam meat from shells (reserving the shells), chop and stir into the breadcrumb mixture. Pull clamshells apart and spoon the breadcrumb mixture into the half shells, packing lightly and mounding slightly (you may have a few shells left over).
5Place the stuffed clamshells on a large baking sheet. Bake until well browned, about 20 minutes.
Make Ahead Tip: Prepare the stuffed clams through Step 4; wrap and freeze for up to 1 month. Remove from the freezer and bake at 450°F until well browned, 20 to 25 minutes.
Tip: To make fresh breadcrumbs, trim crusts from whole-wheat bread. Tear bread into pieces and process in a food processor until coarse crumbs form. One slice of bread makes about ½ cup fresh crumbs.
Ingredient note: Smoked paprika is available in three varieties: sweet, bittersweet and hot. Sweet is the most versatile, but choose hot if you like a bit of heat. It can be purchased in gourmet markets and online at tienda.com.
Cut Down on Dishes: A rimmed baking sheet is great for everything from roasting to catching accidental drips and spills. For effortless cleanup and to keep your baking sheets in tip-top shape, line them with a layer of foil before each use.