December 2020


Clams casino: a New England classic featuring local littlenecks, red bell pepper and the goodness of bacon. Sadly, as you’ll often find with clam sauce and clam chowder, so many places just don’t get it right. Problem solved! Now you can make them to perfection in your own home. That’s what we did yesterday. And now we can follow our own simple (and simply delicious) recipe for years to come.

CLAMS CASINO
2 slices thick-cut bacon
1 tablespoon butter, salted
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 dozen littlenecks, shucked
1/4 cup red bell pepper (about 1/3 or so of the pepper), finely chopped
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1/4 cup dry white wine (we used Chardonnay)
2 tablespoons grated Pecorino Romano
sea salt or Kosher salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper
pink peppercorns (If you have them, they add nice flavor. Add just a bit, smashed between your fingers.)
3 tablespoons panko
Some chopped fresh parsley would be great in here, but we got lazy and didn’t feel like chopping anymore.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. Line a baking sheet or pizza pan with foil. Place clams in pan.

Add bacon to large skillet over medium heat. Cook, remove from skillet, leaving bacon drippings in the pan. Blot with a paper towel, then finely chop.

Add about 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon oil to the pan. Then add red bell pepper, shallots and garlic. Sautee till shallots are tender and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add wine. Cook down about 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Sprinkle Pecorino Romano and panko, stir to combine. Add chopped bacon.

Mound stuffing with a spoon atop each shucked clam. Bake for about 8-10 minutes till topping is golden. Serve with fresh slices of lemon to squeeze over the top. And over the top is just how I hope this dish rates with you when you make it. Buon appetito!

Here’s a new favorite soup, adapted liberally from this America’s Test Kitchen video. To serve, I garnish with a combination of finely chopped bacon and a blend of finely chopped herbs in Meyer lemon olive oil from Seven Barrels.

CREAMY WHITE BEAN SOUP
adapted liberally from America’s Test Kitchen

Soup
extra virgin olive oil to coat the bottom of your pot
1/2 a large sweet onion, diced
1 rib celery, chopped a bit finer than the onion
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 cans small white beans or canellini beans (I used Goya)
2 tablespoons Pecorino Romano, grated
1/2 a lemon, squeezed
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
sprigs of fresh thyme
2 tablespoons salted butter

Herb oil
Maybe 1/4 cup or so (I don’t measure) of Meyer lemon olive oil
Handful of fresh parsley
A few sprigs of fresh rosemary
Chop very fine, add to lemon olive oil. Let sit so the flavors meld.

Garnish
2 or 3 pieces of your favorite bacon, cooked and diced fine

Coat a large stockpot with extra virgin olive oil, burner on medium heat. Add celery and onions. Cook 6 to 8 minutes, till softened and onions are translucent.

Next, add thyme, sliced garlic and cayenne. Cook till fragrant, about a minute or so.

Add two cans of beans and their liquid. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook 6 to 8 minutes more.

Remove thyme. Add Pecorino Romano. Remove from heat; blend for 2 minutes with an immersion (stick) blender. Yes, your arm and/or finger will get tired from blending. Weird. No worries, the feeling goes away!

Add 2 tablespoons salted butter and 1 cup chicken broth. Blend one more minute.

Next, whisk in 1 more cup of chicken broth. Cover and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Stir in freshly squeezed lemon juice.

To serve, garnish with a drizzle of herb oil and a tasty row of chopped bacon. Enjoy!