Baked Stuffed Clams

Minced clams mixed with butter, onions, parsley, and bread crumbs, spooned into half clam shells and baked. Quahog Stuffies recipe.

Baked Stuffed Clams
Elise Bauer

Growing up in California, the idea of "digging for clams" wasn't a really part of my experience. But out in Rhode Island, and the beaches south of Cape Cod, digging in the sand for your dinner is apparently a regular summertime activity.

My friend Alden (age 8) and her sister Piper (my goddaughter, age 5) took me clam digging this weekend.

It wasn't exactly what I expected.

Although we went out in low tide, we still had to get chest deep in the water to find a sandy spot to scrape the bottom of with our toes.

We found about 6 empty shells or rocks for every intact clam.

We were out for more than an hour, shoulders sunburned and toes scraped, nearly stung by red jellyfish, and managed to get a grand total of 9 clams (3 clams each).

Baked Stuffed Clams
Elise Bauer

I know there are more efficient ways to do this (as I'm sure some of you will tell me), but at the end of the day, it didn't matter. Hunting for clams was just a great excuse to play in the warm sea water on a beautiful sunny day.

Here's the recipe for stuffed clams (also called "stuffies") that Alden and Piper's mom Heidi made with our hard-earned catch.

Do you have a favorite recipe for stuffed clams?

Please let us know about it in the comments. I've heard that they are especially good with a little Portuguese sausage mixed in the stuffing.

Baked Stuffed Clams
Elise Bauer

Baked Stuffed Clams

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 55 mins
Total Time 65 mins
Servings 3 to 6 servings

Although this recipe calls for fresh clams, you can also make this with canned minced clams (use one 6.5 ounce can, drained of all but 1 tablespoon of clam juice). Bake as directed on clam shells, or bake in a casserole dish and use as a dip with crackers.

If you've purchasing clams, keep them in the refrigerator covered with a damp, wet towel. If you have dug up your clams, keep them covered with cool sea water in a bucket. Throw away any cracked or broken clams.

Ingredients

  • 10 to 12 large chowder or quahog clams, rinsed, sand and grit removed

  • 3 tablespoons minced onion

  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (or 2 teaspoons dried)

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

  • 1 cup breadcrumbs

  • 1 tablespoon clam juice (or cooking liquid from steaming the clams)

  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Method

  1. Cook the clams:

    Fill a large pot with 1 1/2 to 2 inches of water. Bring water to a boil. Add the clams to the boiling water. Reduce the heat to a simmer and let the clams steam for approximately 6-10 minutes, until the shells open.

    Remove clams from the pot and let cool enough to handle. Discard any clams that have not opened (if they haven't opened it means they were dead to begin with and should not be eaten).

    baked-stuffed-clams-method-2
    Elise Bauer
  2. Remove the clam meat:

    from the clams (not the clam foot which is attached to the shell) and mince finely.

  3. Pick the best clam shells for serving:

    Break apart the clam shells from their hinges. Rinse. Pick 10-12 of the cleanest, nicest looking clam shells and set aside.

  4. Make the stuffing:

    Preheat oven to 350°F. In a sauté pan, melt the butter on medium heat and add the minced onion. Once the onions have softened (2-3 minutes), add the garlic.

    baked-stuffed-clams-method-3
    Elise Bauer

    Cook the garlic for 1 minute, then add the parsley, bread crumbs, minced clams, lemon juice, and clam juice.

    Stir until the stuffing mixture is completely moistened. (If too dry, add a bit more butter or clam juice; if too wet, add a bit more bread crumbs.

    baked-stuffed-clams-method-4
    Elise Bauer
  5. Stuff clam shells with stuffing, sprinkle with Parmesan, bake:

    Lay clam shells on a baking dish. Scoop a little stuffing mixture onto each clam shell. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan.

    Bake at 350°F for approximately 20-25 minutes, until Parmesan is lightly browned on top.

    baked-stuffed-clams-method-5
    Elise Bauer

    Variations:

    Cook a few strips of bacon until fat renders but not brown or crispy, chop and mix in with the stuffing.

    Use crumbled up Ritz crackers for the breadcrumbs.

    Put a little piece of cheddar cheese underneath the clam mixture in each clam, that way you get a little melted cheese with each bite!

    Tip:

    Save your biggest, prettiest clam shells to use for future stuffed clam dishes. To clean, just rinse them off and run them through the dishwasher with your dishes.

Piper and Alden with a couple clams we dug. Elise Bauer
Alden with her clam bucket. Elise Bauer

Links:

New England Steamer Clams here on Simply Recipes

Clams Casino with Bacon from Steamy Kitchen

Baked Stuffed Clams
Elise Bauer
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
286 Calories
18g Fat
17g Carbs
14g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 3 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 286
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 18g 23%
Saturated Fat 11g 53%
Cholesterol 70mg 23%
Sodium 842mg 37%
Total Carbohydrate 17g 6%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 14g
Vitamin C 11mg 55%
Calcium 113mg 9%
Iron 2mg 12%
Potassium 315mg 7%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.