Serves 4 as an appetizer, or more as part of an antipasto buffet
Ask your fishmonger to shuck the clams for you, leaving them on the half-shell, and tell him to reserve ½ cup of the clam juice. Then all you have to do when you get home is stuff and bake them. These are best served hot out of the oven, but you can lower the temperature and keep them warm for a limited time before serving (no more than 15 minutes, or the clams will get dry and tough) if needed. If you’re not a fan of spicy peppers, you can substitute roasted red peppers or sweet pickled peppers for the hot ones. I tell my eager guests to go slowly: straight out of the oven, the clams can be quite hot if eaten too quickly.
- 24 littleneck clams, shucked, plus ½ cup clam juice
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- ½ cup finely chopped scallions
- ¼ cup grated Grana Padano
- 2 hot pickled cherry peppers, seeded and finely chopped, plus 2 tablespoons brine from the jar
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ¾ cup dry white wine
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Set the clams on a rimmed sheet pan. In a medium bowl, combine the panko, scallions, grated cheese, pickled cherry peppers, parsley, and salt, and toss with a fork. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil, and toss again to make a moist stuffing.
Press some stuffing over each clam, dividing evenly and leaving a couple tablespoons filling in the bowl. Stir the reserved stuffing and the pepper brine into the white wine, and pour this into the bottom of the pan. Add ½ cup of the reserved clam juice.
Drizzle the clams with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Bake until filling is crisp and golden, about 15 to 18 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature.