- 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 teaspoon crushed red 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 2 teaspoons 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, remaining 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.