Being Italian and from Long Island Stuffed Baked Clams hold a special place in my heart. When I was growing up, Friday nights meant pizza from Mulberry Street and Baked Clams (They always had to be chopped and without bacon as per my moms specifications). Now that most of my family lives in Miami my parents complain that they can't get good baked clams down here so they asked me to make them and since I have gone without eating them for years due to the obvious gluten filled bread crumbs in the recipe I happily accepted the challenge to make them Deliciously Gluten Free. My Gluten Free version has a salty fresh sea flavor with a crispy parmesan and GF bread Crumb topping. It was approved by my parents and my Gluten Free Belly!
Yield: 12 lg clams
1 doz fresh Top Neck Clams, soaked and scrubbed to remove sand**
3 ea Crimini Mushrooms
6 ea Baby Carrots
1/4 c Celery (about 1 stalk), Sliced
1/4 c Onion, rough chopped
1/4 c Parsley, stem removed
4 ea Garlic Cloves, peeled & roughly chopped
1/3 c Parmesan Cheese
1 Tbsp Fresh Oregano, Chopped
1 Lemon, zested
1/2 c Gluten Free Panko Bread Crumbs
6 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
1/2 c Dry White Wine
Shuck half of the Clams raw and drain the juices through a fine sieve into a baking dish.
Put the other 6 Clams on the grill laying flat for a few minutes just until they begin to pop open. You don't want to grill them until they are fully cooked, just enough to make popping them open a lot easier. Open these 6 clams over a blender or food processor so that the juice and the clam falls right into the blender. Add the 6 raw clams to the blender (all of the clam meat should be in the blender).
Add the Mushrooms, Carrots, Celery, Onion, and 3 Garlic Cloves (reserve the 4th roughly chopped) to the blender. Pulse until all of the ingredients are chopped.
In a large bowl mix the chopped Clam and Vegetable mixture with the Bread Crumbs, Parsley, Oregano, Lemon Zest, 1/4 c Parmesan Cheese (reserve the rest), and 3 Tbsp of Butter (melted).
Toss the mixture lightly until everything is incorporated.
TASTE TEST: Cook off a small amount of the mixture to check for seasoning. If needed add salt and pepper to the mixture. The taste test is important because clams from different areas have different levels of saltiness.
Fill 12 of the Clam Shells with the mixture. Top with the reserved Parmesan Cheese.
Take the baking dish with the raw clam juice and add the remaining 3 Tbsp of butter, wine, and reserved chopped garlic clove. Place the clams in the baking dish being sure that the liquid level does not come above the edge of the clams.
Bake at 475 degrees for about 10-12 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the liquid at the bottom of the baking dish is bubbling.