Lean Canadian bacon, Parmesan cheese and an aromatic blend of chopped vegetables and herbs give our baked, stuffed clams so much flavor and crunch that you won't even miss the 6 tablespoons of butter that typically goes into this classic appetizer. They make a fabulous starter for a dinner party or a light summer entree with a fresh salad.
littleneck clams, scrubbed
extra-virgin olive oil
medium shallots, minced
small green bell pepper, minced
Canadian bacon, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
fresh breadcrumbs, preferably whole-wheat (see Tip)
grated Parmesan cheese
chopped fresh chives
minced fresh oregano, or 1 teaspoon dried
smoked or regular paprika, (see Ingredient Note)
freshly ground pepper
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
, bay leaves and water in a large pot; cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook the clams until they open, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain in a colander. (Discard any clams that do not open.) Discard the bay leaves.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and bell pepper; cook, stirring often, until soft, 2 to 3 minutes. Add Canadian bacon; cook, stirring frequently, until heated and fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in vinegar; transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Stir in breadcrumbs, Parmesan, chives, oregano, paprika
Remove clam meat from shells (reserving the shells), chop and stir into the breadcrumb mixture. Pull clamshells apart and spoon the breadcrumb mixture into the half shells, packing lightly and mounding slightly (you may have a few shells left over).
Place the stuffed clamshells on a large baking
sheet. Bake until well browned, about 20 minutes.
To make fresh breadcrumbs, trim crusts from whole-wheat bread
. Tear bread into pieces and process in a food processor until coarse crumbs form. One slice of bread makes about 1/2 cup fresh crumbs.
Ingredient note: Smoked paprika
is available in three varieties: sweet, bittersweet and hot. Sweet is the most versatile, but choose hot if you like a bit of heat. It can be purchased in gourmet markets and online at tienda.com.
MAKE AHEAD TIP: Prepare the stuffed clams
through Step 4; wrap and freeze for up to 1 month. Remove from the freezer and bake at 450 degrees F until well browned, 20 to 25 minutes.
Calories 176, Total Fat 8 g, Saturated Fat 3 g, Monounsaturated Fat 4 g, Cholesterol 36 mg, Sodium 370 mg, Carbohydrate 9 g, Fiber 1 g, Protein 16 g, Potassium 342 mg. Daily Values: Vitamin C 40%, Calcium 15%, Iron 60%. Exchanges: Starch 0.5,Vegetable 0.5,Lean Meat 2,Fat 1.5.
Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet