Why It Works
- Canned clams make for quick preparation and plenty of clam flavor.
- The clam juice adds extra clam flavor throughout the dip while thinning it slightly to a more dippable consistency.
- Toasting panko breadcrumbs in bacon fat adds another layer of flavor.
Retro as the recipe may be, clams casino has always been one of our favorite special-occasion hors d'oeuvres. This twist on the classic brings the dish back into the limelight in the form of a quick and easy dip that will bring a smile to any shellfish-loving crowd.
- 6 ounces (170g; about 6 slices) bacon, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup (3/4 ounce; 25g) panko breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup (5g) flat-leaf parsley leaves and tender stems, finely chopped, divided, plus whole parsley leaves for garnish
- 8 ounces (225g) cream cheese
- 1 cup (8 ounces; 225g) sour cream
- 2 cans (6.5 ounces each) minced clams, juice drained and reserved
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
- 4 scallions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
- 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
- Crackers, crostini, chips, and/or celery, to serve
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook bacon, stirring, until crisp and fat has rendered, about 7 minutes. Transfer bacon to paper towel–lined plate to cool. Drain all but 1 tablespoon of rendered bacon fat. Return pan to heat.
Sprinkle panko breadcrumbs over hot bacon grease and cook, stirring frequently, until golden, about 3 minutes. Scrape into bowl to cool.
Crumble bacon. Add half of crumbled bacon and 2 tablespoons parsley to breadcrumbs; toss to combine. Set aside.
In large bowl, mash cream cheese with fork and mix in sour cream until well-combined. Add 2 tablespoons of reserved clam juice and juice of 1 lemon. Stir in minced clams, garlic, scallions, red pepper flakes, remaining bacon, and remaining 2 tablespoons parsley, until all ingredients are evenly distributed.
Transfer dip to serving bowl and top with panko mixture. Top with a few whole leaves of parsley, to garnish, and serve with crackers, crostini, chips, and/or celery, for dipping.
Make-Ahead and Storage
The dip can be made up to 1 day ahead and refrigerated in an airtight container; sprinkle breadcrumbs on top just before serving.