Get your taste buds ready for bold clams on the half shell

Yankee Chef logoBy Jim Bailey

Look at this simple list of ingredients and preparation. Now you have no reason not to incorporate something great tasting into your summer gathering year after year. When you are ready to remove the black “sleeve” that is found over the siphon of the clam, all you need to do is grab a paper towel, then grab the“sleeve” and pull.

My father, the second Yankee Chef, always made this recipe without first cooking the clams. The clams did just barely cook while on the grill, but this was a man who ate raw clams and scallops frequently.

Bold clams on the half-shell.

Bold clams on the half-shell.

1 pound large clams
1 1/2 cups unseasoned, dried bread crumbs
3 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup minced onion
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Wash clams and cover with 1-inch water in a large pot. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook clams for 1 minute, or until they have opened. Discard any unopened clams. Strain and let cool to handle. Remove meat from the clams, not forgetting the black sleeve encompassing the siphon. Discard half the clam shells.

Preheat oven to 400-degrees F. Place the remainder of the clam shells on a baking sheet. Put 1 clam onto each shell; set aside. In a bowl, combine remainder of ingredients and toss well. Evenly divide the crumb mixture on top of each clam. Bake 6 to 8 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown. Remove and serve immediately with lemon wedges if desired.

This recipe is perfectly adapted to outdoor grilling as well. Heat your gas grill on low, place the filled shells over indirect heat, close lid and cook 8 to 10 minutes, or until top is crispy. Enough for 3 to 4 people.

Yankee Chef book coverSchiffer Books of Pennsylvania has released Jim Bailey’s new book The Yankee Chef: Feel Good Food for Every Kitchen. It contains more than 550 traditional New England comfort-food recipes tweaked for today’s palates with hundreds of kitchen tips and food facts. The hardback book is 312 pages and contains 200 color images. Its ISBN is 978-0-7643-4191-5 and the cost is $34.99. The book can be ordered through Misty Valley Books, 802-875-3400.

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Filed Under: Community and Arts LifeThe Yankee Chef

About the Author: Jim Bailey is a third generation Yankee Chef, New England food historian and newspaper columnist. His first cookbook, simply titled The Yankee Chef, has been published. He welcomes all feedback, questions or comments at

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