Clams Oreganato
by Charlie Mussoline

URL Source:
Source: Lefty Mussoline
Course: Appetizers
Cuisine: Italian
Food Group: Shellfish
Serves: 6


12 whole Top neck clams. I prefer the wild vs farmed. Cleaned and on the half shell
1 1/2 cup(s) Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon(s) crushed red pepper flakes (or more or less to taste)
1 tablespoon(s) granulated garlic (or more if desired)
2 tablespoon(s) oregano
1/2 teaspoon(s) salt

Wash/scrub the clams. Carefully open the clams over a bowl, trying to save as much of the clam liquor as possible. Near the hinge of the clam shell you'll notice a small pocket of black or dark "stuff". Clean that out with your clam knife and dispose of it. Run the clam knife under the clam close to the shell, cutting the clam away from the shell. Twist the clam shell so it comes apart at the hinge, saving a half of the shell upon which you set the cleaned clam. Once you're done opening and cleaning the clams, mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Add enough EVOO to make a damp paste, not too wet, slightly damp paste. Using a teaspoon, place a teaspoon of the breadcrumb mix onto each clam. Bake in the oven for 7 minutes at 350 degrees. Turn the oven to broil, move the clams to a distance of 4 to 6 inches from the broiler and broil until the breadcrumb mixture begins to turn a light brown. Watch them carefully so they don't burn. Remove from the oven and enjoy.

Clams oreganato can also be made and then frozen for later use. Bake at 350 for 6 minutes, remove from the oven and let cool. I use plastic "take out" type food containers with lids. Place the clams into the container, run a sheet of Saran Wrap over the top and snap the lid in place. When ready to use, thaw them in the refrigerator overnight, and bake as shown above.

The clam liquor can be frozen and used when making clam sauce. I use fresh clams for the clam sauce, usually 3 to 4 dozen, washing, opening and cleaning the clams the same way as above. BTW, they freeze beautifully once out of the shells and cleaned. Just seperate the clams and the clam liquor. Clams in one container, clam liquor strained and in another container. I'll buy a bag of a hundred and when I'm done cleaning them, I have enough frozen for two meals of linguini with clam sauce and baked clams oreganato. 

As with all of Lefty's recipes, add or deduct ingredients to suit your taste. The Mahof never added crushed red pepper flakes to his baked clams, but I like the little bite it gives them.