Looking for a new appetizer? Give faux baked clams a try! It may be hard to imagine what a faux baked clam might taste like, but we promise that it is nothing but pure goodness.
By Izzy Giacoppo
Baked clams have always been one of my favorite appetizers. When my mom first told me about my grandfather’s faux baked clams, I have to admit I was slightly disturbed; I did not like the idea of fake seafood one bit. Despite my uncertainty, she made them anyway, only changing the original recipe a tad, and now they are one of my all-time favorite appetizers. To be completely truthful, I would say I enjoy them even more than traditional baked clams. This dish is perfect for any time of year and any occasion. You can enjoy them sitting in your backyard on a sunny summer afternoon, or by the fireside during the coldest time of winter. They make for a great game day snack or unique dinner party appetizer. As for preparing this dish, you will find that it is fairly simple to make.
- ¾ cup of seasoned breadcrumbs
- 1 large clove of garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons of grated Pecorino Romano cheese
- 4 tablespoons of melted butter
- 1 10 ounce can of minced clams
- 1 10 ounce can of chopped clams
- 15 to 20 phyllo shells
- Olive oil
- Lemon juice (optional)
To make the clams, mix all of the ingredients including the juice from the cans. If you find that the mixture is too wet, go ahead and add more breadcrumbs until the mixture is to your preferred consistency. Then, fill the phyllo shells with the mixture and drizzle a small amount of olive oil on top of each clam. Finally, bake the clams at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes, or until they are golden on top. Once they are baked, feel free to squeeze some fresh lemon juice on them for a little extra flavor.
The clams will come out with a splendid light crispiness and textured interior. I find the texture of the faux baked clams to be one of the best parts, along with the flavor of course. These aspects are why I enjoy these more than traditional baked clams. The minced and chopped clams blend much better with the breadcrumbs than a single clam because there is less chewiness. The flavor and texture are so pleasant that I often find it hard to stop eating them! That is how you know a dish is good. I’m so happy I was able to share one of my favorite family recipes. For this wonderful recipe, we owe a big thanks to my grandfather, Giovanni Giuseppe Giacoppo.