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Clams Casino with Salmon Bacon
Many folks find that this classic recipe makes the perfect appetizer for any party

Welcome to my Colorado kitchen!

This series features me, Michelle — a writer and soccer mom from the Rocky Mountains — my husband and two kids, some beautiful Vital Choice seafood and lots of regular home cooking.

(Click here to learn more about me, below.)

I want to feature the products and preparations you’re curious about.

Have a suggestion? Question? Recipe you want me to test?

Email me and help to shape this series.


Part of my mission — and passion — is to revisit classic seafood recipes. If you have suggestions, please email me and let me know!

While I’ll prepare some recipes using their traditional recipes, this one got a modern makeover that I think you’ll love!

Clams Casino is an “on-the-half-shell” appetizer originating in New England. While there are countless variations, it generally features clams topped with a mixture of bell pepper, bacon, wine, and breadcrumbs that’s baked or broiled and served immediately.

For my version, I’ve eliminated the breadcrumbs, which hide the delicious flavor of the clams, and substituted Vital Choice Wild Alaskan Salmon Bacon, which is much healthier and features a wonderful, sweet-smoky flavor.

A few notes for the cook
Classic Casino recipes call for steaming the clams before topping and baking them.

But Vital Choice Manila Clams are cleaned, vacuum-packed, and pasteurized in hot water for about 10 minutes, which partially cooks the clams and makes it very easy to pull the meat from the shell (and eliminates the need for extra steps).

If you don’t have salmon bacon, substitute pasture-fed pork bacon or pancetta – either would be delicious.

I quick-thawed the clams in a cold-water bath (still in the packaging), then was able to easily pry off the top shells by hand.

If you don’t have rock salt, and your shells won’t sit fairly level on the baking sheet, you can also create small “nests” of crumped aluminum foil to rest them on.

Many folks find that this classic recipe makes the perfect appetizer for any party. My husband, who does not generally eat shellfish, happily consumed eight clams!

Please give this a try next time you entertain (or treat yourself to a wonderful, light dinner), then send me a note and let know how it was.

My rating: 4 out of 4 stars

Clams Casino with Salmon Bacon
Serves 4 as an appetizer

Ingredients

  • 1 pound Vital Choice Manila Clams, thawed
  • Rock salt (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 ounces Vital Choice Salmon Baconpastured-pork bacon or pancetta
  • 1 large red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 large shallot, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • ¼ cup dry white wine or dry vermouth
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese (ideally, Parmigiano-Reggiano)
Directions

  1. Thaw clams under refrigeration at or below 38ºF (before thawing, puncture or remove packaging). For quick-thawing, place frozen package in cool water for approximately 20 to 30 minutes, just until contents are flexible.
  2. Position an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 500ºF.
  3. To prepare the clams, gently twist off the top shells and discard. Because they’re pre-cooked, the clams will already be partially open, making this process very easy.
  4. Place the bottom halves of the shells on a baking sheet lined with rock salt or aluminum foil baking sheet – the rock salt makes a base to keep the shells level.
  5. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add salmon bacon and quickly sear, turning once, about 2 minutes per side. Please don’t overcook. Once lightly browned, remove it to a paper-towel lined plate, break into large pieces and reserve.
  6. Heat the remaining oil over medium heat. Sauté the minced garlic briefly, just enough to soften it (do not allow to brown), and remove from heat. Sauté the bell pepper and shallots until tender. Add the wine to the pepper and shallots and simmer until reduced by about half, 2-3 minutes. Stir in parsley, season to taste with salt and pepper and remove from the heat.
  7. Top each clam with a spoonful of the vegetable-wine mixture, (I saved the extra as a topping for broiled salmon), then grate a bit of Parmesan over each clam.
  8. Bake until the clams are cooked through, about 5 minutes. Garnish with reserved salmon bacon (or pork bacon or pancetta) pieces and serve immediately.

A Note from Michelle

Like you, I have a passion for beautiful-yet-healthy food that’s easy to prepare. 

While I do love making the occasional "fancy” dinner, most of the time I’m short on time and have a house full of hungry people who want to eat NOW.

I’m not a professional chef – just a busy mom who loves to cook and who’s focused on that intersection of healthy and delicious.

I want this series to feature the products and preparations you’re curious about.

Have a suggestion? Question? Recipe you want me to test?

Email me and help to shape this series.

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