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Author Notes: I adapted this recipe from my dad's famous Linguine with Clam Sauce as a way to make the dish more appetizer friendly. Stale Bread stands in for the Pasta, and copious amounts of fresh and canned Clams sit atop a giant "crouton" made of stale, crusty bread flavored with garlic and Pecorino Romano. The "crouton" serves as a base for the tender Littlenecks to perch on, but most importantly, it also acts as a sponge to soak up all that brothy goodness at the end. Your guests will eat and slurp this in absolute silence down to the very last bit of bread. It is that good. And simple! —Neurotic Kitchenista
- 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
- 4 tablespoons Unsalted Butter plus more for brushing Stale Bread
- 7 Garlic Cloves, 6 cloves finely minced, 1 cut in half
- 2 Cans Chopped Clams, 5 oz, With Juice
- 2 cups Dry White Wine, divided
- 40 Smallest Fresh Littlenecks you can find, well scrubbed
- 8 ounces Bottled Clam Juice
- 1 Long Loaf of stale crusty French or Italian Bread
- 1/3 cup Grated Pecorino Romano Cheese
- 1/2 cup Italian Parsley, chopped
- Crushed Red Pepper Flakes, to taste
- Cook's Note: You'll be preparing this recipe in two similarly sized, large pasta pots or large sized soup pots. You are a basically splitting the above ingredients evenly in half. Preparing the recipe in this manner will get you the best results and Clams will open more easily because you aren't overcrowding the pots. Instructions follow.
- Take out 4 large soup or pasta bowls for serving and cut 4 large hunks off the stale bread that are sized to fit nicely in the base of each bowl. Next, cut the tops off the Bread. Rub each piece with the halves of the Garlic Clove, spread on a bit of Butter, and sprinkle generously with Pecorino Romano. Toast Bread in the toaster oven or regular oven until golden. Place each flavored "Crouton" in the base of your serving bowls. Set aside.
- In your two pots heat 2 Tablespoons of Oil and 2 Tablespoons of Butter over medium-low heat. Once the Butter is melted, add 3 cloves of minced Garlic to each pot and cook until fragrant, about 1 or 2 minutes. Do not burn the Garlic. If the garlic burns, it is not a bad idea to discard and start over.
- Next, add one can of Chopped Clams with their juice to each pot. Turn up the burners to medium. Add 1/2 a cup of the Dry White Wine to each pot until the liquids begin to bubble a bit.
- Add 4 oz (half a bottle) of Clam Juice to each pot along with 1/4 teaspoon of Black Pepper and the amount of Crushed Red Pepper that suits your taste. Bring pots to a light boil again and add fresh Clams to each pot (about 20 clams per pot).
- Cover the pots and cook for 3 minutes. Add White Wine to the pots (1/2 a cup per pot). Cover pot and cook another 3-4 minutes.
- Check the Clams now, and as they should begin opening. Pull Fresh Clams out immediately with tongs the moment they open and set aside in a large bowl. Give the pots a stir and continue to cook, removing Clams out one by one as the pop open. Discard any that do not open by the time you are done.
- To assemble: Place Fresh Clams on and around the Crouton base in each serving bowl. Pour generous amounts of Broth and Chopped Clams from the pots over each serving, soaking the Crouton completely. Sprinkle with a bit more Crushed Red Pepper if you like, and top with Chopped Parsley. Serve right away. Enjoy!