Baked Clams Oreganata can be found on most Italian American restaurant menus and when they’re prepared well (with high quality ingredients) they are an excellent way to consume fresh clams, outside of on the half shell with a squeeze of lemon and a dash of Tabasco.
Our family feasts on Baked Clams Oreganata during the holiday season and they are fairly straightforward to prepare. In fact, the most difficult part of our recipe may be opening or shucking the clams, especially if it’s your first time.
- 1 tablespoon of dried oregano
- Finely chopped parsley
- ½ cup of dry white wine
- Grated cheese (Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana)
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 25-35 little neck clams with reserved clam juice
- ½ cup plain bread crumbs
- 4-5 pieces of bacon (you can also use pancetta)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Red pepper flakes (optional)
- Lemon wedges (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F. Open/Shuck the clams; if you're unfamiliar with how to open clams then you can either freeze the clams for a few minutes or bake the clams, as is, for 2-3 minutes (either process will slightly open the shell and allow you to easily open the clam; in either case be sure to reserve the clam juice).
- Add the white wine, half the parsley, the optional red pepper flakes to a large bake pan.
- In a large bowl,add the breadcrumbs, grated cheese, tomatoes, 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil, remaining parsley, dried oregano, and mix well.
- Add about 1-2 tablespoons of the bread-crumb mixture, packing it down just enough so that the mixture doesn't easily fall off. Set the clams in baking pan and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and thereafter place a ½ piece of bacon or pancetta on top.. Bake until the bacon is crunchy and the breadcrumbs are golden brown, about 10 minutes. You can use the sauce from the bake pan over the clams or omit if you don't want to ruin the crunch topping. Consume immediately. You can squeeze a bit of fresh lemon juice on the clam if you're looking for a bit of zest with each bite.