Cooking with Class: Appetizers for 20 - Christmas Eve - Clams Casino

Carmine L. Calabro Jr. - Resident Chef

This recipe is not for the “faint” when it comes to challenging one’s culinary and presentation skills, nor for those on a low salt low fat low carb diet. Production requires 3 days, but the end product and presentation is an epicurean delight. This rich mélange of little neck clams, drenched in lemon, butter, bacon, garlic, onions, peppers, cheese, spices and wine is worth the effort and will tempt the most discriminating palates. 


4 Large Red Peppers

4 Large Green Peppers

2 Large Yellow Onions

1 Head Garlic

2 lbs Thick Slice Maple Bacon or Pancetta

10 Lemons

8 Quarters Salted Butter

1 Bunch Italian Parsley

12 Oz Breadcrumbs

144 Little Neck Clams – Shucked, Shells Reserved, Juice Reserved – Separate Containers - Iced

1 Quart Clam Juice

Worcestershire Sauce

1 Quart Dry White Wine

1 Pint Olive Oil (Classico)

1 Pint Lemon Juice (Fresh and Concentrated)

Tri or Quad Flavor Peppercorns

Reggiano Parmigiana Finely Ground

Parchment Paper

Mini-Chop Cuisinart



Day One

Set aside butter to soften.  Rough Cut onions, peppers, set aside.  Chop garlic.  Finely Chop parsley.

Roast bacon in oven until fat begins to melt.  Remove and set aside.  Cut into small 1 inch squares.  Reserve bacon fat.  In a large mixing bowl, blend butter, lemon juice, clam juice and white wine.  Roll mixture into a log.  Roll log on a sheet of parchment paper on a bed of chopped parsley and garlic. Tie up roll and freeze overnight.

Day Two

Finely chop garlic, onions, peppers and blend, set aside and refrigerate. Prepare mix of clam juice, white wine, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce and season with ground pepper mix.  Set aside and refrigerate.  Slice lemons thin, sprinkle with lemon juice, set aside and refrigerate.

Day Three

Layout shells on baking trays. Add juice mixture to each shell.  Add clam to each shell. Top with bacon. Next top with pepper, onions, garlic mix.  Remove butter mix from freezer and cut slices.  Place slices on top of the pepper mix. Sprinkle breadcrumbs and cheese on top of this.  Bake at 350 for 10 minutes lightly covered.

Remove cover and sprinkle each tray with juice mixture and olive oil. Add additional topping of breadcrumbs and cheese.  Broil for 5 minutes at 500 until brown.

Cover and set aside for plating, garnish and service.