- 1/2 cup fine dry bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus 1 tablespoon, cold
- 2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon finely chopped parsley
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 3 teaspoons minced garlic
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 24 to 26 littleneck clams, purged and scrubbed clean
- 1 ounce bacon (about 1 piece thick cut bacon), chopped
- 2 ounces chopped proscuitto
- 1/2 cup minced shallots
- 1/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
- 1/2 cup strained clam juice
In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon of the melted butter, Parmesan, 1 tablespoon chopped parsley and the pepper and set aside.
In a large, high sided sauté pan with a lid over medium heat add the remaining 1 tablespoon of the melted butter and olive oil. When hot, add the garlic, white wine, thyme sprigs and the clams. Place the lid on the pan, increase the heat to medium-high and cook the clams until they all open, 3 to 4 minutes. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, transfer the clams to a bowl to cool. Strain the broth through a fine mesh sieve and set aside.
Preheat the oven to broil.
In a medium sauté pan over medium heat, cook the bacon and proscuitto for 2 minutes. Add the shallots, red bell pepper, garlic, and crushed red pepper, and cook for 2 minutes longer. Add the clam juice and continue to cook until thick, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and swirl in 1 tablespoon of cold butter.
Remove the top shell of each clam and discard. Transfer the the clams (in their bottom shells) to a baking sheet. Using a small spoon, top each clam with about 1/2 teaspoon of the bacon mixture. Then sprinkle each clam with 1 to 2 teaspoons of the bread crumbs -- enough to cover. If you have any breadcrumbs left they can be frozen for up to 6 months.
Transfer the clams to the oven and broil them for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the crumbs are golden brown.
Serve immediately with lemon wedges.