Serves 4 to 6
Try to find the Sicilian oregano, dried right on the branch, for this recipe; it makes a difference. Try to get clams on the larger side, and you’ll have plenty of space in the shell for the crispy crumbs.
- ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, sliced
- 2 dozen littleneck clams, shucked on the half shell, juices reserved
- ½ cup dry white wine
- Juice of 1 lemon
- ¼ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- ¼ teaspoon peperoncino
- 1 ½ cups panko breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup grated Grana Padano
- 4 scallions, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon crumbled dried oregano, preferably the Sicilian on the branch, crumbled
- Kosher salt
Let the oil and garlic steep in a small bowl for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Strain the clam juice through cheesecloth or a very fine sieve into a large rimmed baking sheet (like a half sheet pan).
Add the white wine, lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of the parsley, the butter and half of the peperoncino.
In a large bowl, toss the breadcrumbs, grated cheese, scallions, 3 tablespoons of the garlic-infused oil, the remaining 2 tablespoons chopped parsley, the oregano and the remaining peperoncino. Season lightly with salt. Toss until thoroughly blended.
Top each clam with some of the breadcrumb topping packing it down tight. Set the clams in the prepared baking pan and drizzle the remaining infused oil over them, leaving the garlic behind.
Bake until the pan juices are bubbling and the breadcrumbs are golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer the clams to a warm platter or divide among serving plates. Spoon the sauce from the baking dish onto the plates, not over the clams, to keep the breadcrumbs crispy. Serve immediately.