Saturday, December 4, 2010

Clams Casino

This past Thanksgiving at a week long family gathering in the Outer Banks, NC, my brother and I decided to make clams casino for my Mom, one of her favorites.  The only problem is, she broke her leg on Thanksgiving morning and was transported to Asheville via ambulance.  She had surgery the following day but didn't recover from the trauma of it all and passed away on December 2, 2010.  Scott and I made the clams casino on our last night in the Outer Banks, completely unaware of the impending outcome of the situation.  This is for you Mom.  I have fond memories of making and eating these with you over the years.  The original influence was the Milanese Restaurant in Poughkeepsie, NY.  They don't use green pepper or bread crumbs and it always aggravated my Mom when she ordered them somewhere and those ingredients were in the preparation.

Mom, you have been a huge influence on my love of good food and learning how to make it.  We are both self taught, but you were my original teacher.

Though you can make these alone, I never have.  Buy Littleneck Clams figuring on 6 or so per person.  Using a sharp knife, open and disconnect them from the shell.  Rinse and remove any dark sandy areas.  Dry out 1 side of the clam shell and add a pea sized bit of butter to the shell.  Place the clam on the shell and place on a sheet pan.  Dice Bacon, 1 strip per 6 clams, and saute until just about done.  Remove and let drain on a paper towel.  Finely dice a Medium Onion and saute in the same skillet until translucent.  Add a Splash of good White Wine and a few grinds of pepper and a few pinches of salt.  Remove from heat and season with finely chopped Fresh Parsley.
Preheat Oven to 450.  While oven is warming, top each clam with a small amount of the onion mixture and a few crumbles of bacon.  Bake for about 7 minutes until very hot.  Squeeze Lemon on the hot clams when they come out of the oven and serve immediately.  Serve with the open wine.

I miss you and will always miss our lengthy conversations about food!  Thank you for your patience with me in the kitchen.  If anyone should make these please look up and toast Geraldine, "Dean", or just Mom, she'll be pleased.

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