Christmas Eve has always been our favorite family holiday. Being of Italian heritage (my Mom was born in the small Italian village of Selva di Fasano) we took the Feast of the Fishes very seriously on Christmas Eve. How many fish dishes we enjoyed would vary at times but my Mom’s Baked Clams as one of the starters and Lobster as the entree were always on the menu. I have carried on that tradition making baked clams every Christmas Eve.
- 2 dozen Clams (save the shells)
- 3 cups of Bread Crumbs
- 2 cups of chopped Roma Tomatoes
- 1/2 cup of chopped Italian Parsley
- 1/2 cup of grated Pecorino Romano Cheese or Parmesan Cheese
- Salt and pepper to Taste
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil for sprinkling on top
- 2 tbsp of butter
- 2 tbsp of Clam Juice
- Fill a large pot with 1 1/2 to 2 inches of water. Bring water to a boil. Add the clams to the boiling water. Reduce the heat to a simmer and let the clams steam for approximately 6-10 minutes, until the shells open.
- Remove clams from the pot and let cool enough to handle. Discard any clams that have not opened.
- Remove the clams from the shells and mince very fine (scissors work well). Put them in a bowl.
- Break apart the clam shells from their hinges. Rinse. Pick 20-24 of the cleanest, nicest looking clam shells and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- In a saute pan melt the butter and add the bread cumbs. Toast the bread crumbs until golden. Take off heat.
- In a bowl combine clams, breadcrumbs, 1 tbsp of clam juice, tomatoes, chopped parsley, salt, pepper, and 3/4 of the grated cheese. Stuffing should be moist but not soggy. If dry add more clam juice and if soggy add more bread crumbs.
- Lay clam shells in a baking pan. Scoop a little stuffing mixture onto each clam shell.
- Sprinkle olive oil and remaining grated cheese over the clams.
- Bake at 350°F for approximately 20-25 minutes, until Stuffing and Parmesan is lightly browned on top.