Best Italian Baked Stuffed Clams Oreganata Recipe

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Best Italian Baked Stuffed Clams Oreganata Recipe There’s nothing quite like a plate of warm and delicious Italian baked stuffed clams to transport your taste buds to the coastal towns of Italy. Perfectly cooked clams, brimming with a flavorful mixture of crispy breadcrumbs, oregano, fresh parsley, and aromatic garlic.

You will also love spaghetti alle vongole!

Best Italian Baked Stuffed Clams on a plate with lemon wedges and parsley.
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Best Clams Oreganata

These clams are delicious and nutritious sources of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and essential vitamins and minerals. They make a perfect appetizer or side dish for any occasion, whether a cozy family dinner or a festive gathering with friends.

So, whether you’re a seafood lover or a fan of Italian cuisine, give this authentic Italian baked stuffed clams (or, clams oreganata) recipe a try and indulge in a truly unforgettable dining experience! Make them at home and feel like you are eating at an Italian restaurant.

The combination of textures and flavors is irresistible, leaving you craving more with every bite! Perfect appetizer any time of the year.

Best Italian Baked Stuffed Clams on a plate with lemon wedges and parsley.

What are Clams Oreganata?

“Clams Oreganata” is an Italian-American dish that consists of fresh clams stuffed with a mixture of breadcrumbs, herbs, garlic, and olive oil, and baked in the oven until golden brown.

The name “Oreganata” comes from the Italian word “oregano,” the herb traditionally used in this dish (Sicilian oregano).

The breadcrumb mixture, seasoned with parsley and grated cheese, is reminiscent of the bread stuffing flavor commonly used in holiday turkey stuffing. A delicious and savory appetizer for a fish dinner or main dish popular in Italian-American cuisine—often served for Christmas Eve.

Simple Ingredients

Ingredient shot.
  • Clams: Fresh clams are the star ingredient of this recipe. They are a type of shellfish that are rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals. When baked, they become tender and flavorful, making them a delicious addition to any dish.
  • Breadcrumbs: Breadcrumbs are used to make the stuffing for the clams. They are made from bread that has been ground into small pieces and are used to add texture and flavor to the dish. This recipe uses plain breadcrumbs, but seasoned breadcrumbs can also be used for added flavor. You can also use Panko bread crumbs for added texture.
  • Parsley: Fresh parsley adds a fresh and herbaceous taste to the stuffing mixture. It is a versatile herb used in many Italian dishes and is rich in vitamins and minerals.
  • Garlic cloves: Garlic adds a pungent and aromatic flavor to the stuffing mixture. It is a staple ingredient in many Italian dishes and is known for its health benefits, including boosting the immune system and reducing inflammation.
  • Oregano: Dried oregano adds a rich and earthy flavor to the stuffing mixture. It is a popular herb in Italian cuisine known for its antioxidant properties.
  • Salt and pepper: Salt and pepper are used to season the stuffing mixture and enhance the flavors of the other ingredients.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Olive oil moistens the stuffing mixture and adds a rich and fruity flavor to the dish.
  • Lemon juice and lemon wedges: Lemon wedges are served on the side of the dish and are used to add a bright and tangy flavor to the clams.
  • Pecorino cheese is a hard Italian cheese made from sheep’s milk. Adding pecorino cheese to this recipe enhances the overall flavor profile of the dish and complements the other ingredients perfectly.

See the recipe card for quantities.

Best Clams for making Baked Clams Recipe

The best clams to use for Italian Baked Stuffed Clams Recipe (Oreganata) are hard-shell clams like littleneck, cherrystone, or quahog clams. These clams have a firm, meaty texture and a briny, salty flavor that works well with the stuffing mixture. You can find these at your local grocery store fish counter or ask your fishmonger.

As for the size, it’s best to use small to medium-sized clams, about 1-2 inches in diameter. Littleneck clams are a popular choice for this dish, as they are small and have a tender texture that pairs well with the breadcrumb stuffing. Cherrystone clams are slightly larger and have a meatier texture, while quahog clams are the largest and have a firmer texture that may be best suited for grilling or steaming.

When selecting clams, make sure they are fresh and alive. Look for clams that are tightly closed or that close immediately when tapped. Avoid clams that are already open or that have broken or cracked shells. Once you have your fresh clams, you can shuck them and use them for the recipe.

Best Italian Baked Stuffed Clams on a plate with lemon wedges and parsley.

How to Make Best Italian Baked Stuffed Clams Recipe Step-by-Step Photos

How to make- Best Italian Baked Stuffed Clams- rinse clams in water and remove any dirt.

Preheat the oven to 375°F. 
In a large bowl filled with water, scrub and clean clams.

How to make- Best Italian Baked Stuffed Clams- clean shells.

Open the clams and loosen the muscle underneath the clam meat.

How to make- Best Italian Baked Stuffed Clams- carefully open shells with a knife.

Discard the top shell and leave the clam and its juice in the bottom shell.

How to make- Best Italian Baked Stuffed Clams- open shells.

How to make- Best Italian Baked Stuffed Clams- open shells on a plate.

Place clams in a single layer in a baking dish, casserole dish, or lined baking sheet.

How to make- Best Italian Baked Stuffed Clams- make the breadcrumb mixture and mix together.

Combine the breadcrumbs, cheese, parsley, garlic, oregano, salt, and black pepper in a bowl. Add the olive oil and lemon juice and stir until the mixture is evenly moistened.

How to make- Best Italian Baked Stuffed Clams- add clam juice on clams.

Spoon about 2-3 teaspoons of clam juice over each one. It’s fine if the juice spills over.

How to make- Best Italian Baked Stuffed Clams- clams before baking in the oven.

Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the breadcrumb mixture onto the top of each clam, packing it down with your fingers. 

How to make- Best Italian Baked Stuffed Clams- clams after baking in the oven.

Bake for 15-18 minutes until the breadcrumbs are golden brown, and the clams are cooked. Do not bake. 
Garnish with fresh parsley. Serve hot with lemon wedges on the side.

Best Italian Baked Stuffed Clams on a plate with lemon wedges and parsley.

Variations to Clams Oreganata

Here are some recipe variations for Italian Baked Stuffed Clams Oreganata:

  1. Use different herbs: add herbs like oregano, thyme, rosemary, or parsley to add different flavors.
  2. Add chopped vegetables: You can add finely chopped vegetables like onions, garlic, or bell peppers to the stuffing mixture for added flavor and texture.
  3. Use different types of bread: Instead of using plain breadcrumbs, you can experiment with different types of bread, like sourdough or focaccia, to add extra flavor.
  4. Add bacon or pancetta: For a richer, smoky flavor, you can add chopped bacon or pancetta to the stuffing mixture.
  5. Use different types of cheese: While pecorino cheese is traditional, you can experiment with other types of cheese like Parmigiano, Romano, or even goat cheese to add different flavors.
  6. Make it spicy: Add red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper to the stuffing mixture for a spicy kick.
  7. Top with breadcrumbs and butter: Instead of mixing the breadcrumbs into the stuffing mixture, you can sprinkle them over the top of the stuffed clams and small cubes of butter for a crispy, buttery topping.

Remember to adjust the recipe and cooking time accordingly when making these variations. Enjoy experimenting with different flavors and ingredients to find your perfect Italian Baked Stuffed Clams (Oreganata) version!

Best Italian Baked Stuffed Clams on a plate with lemon wedges and parsley.

Equipment

  • Sharp Knife
  • Baking Dish

How to Store Leftovers

If you have leftover Italian Baked Stuffed Clams Recipe (Oreganata), here are some tips on how to store them properly:

  1. Allow the clams to cool down to room temperature before storing them.
  2. Transfer the leftover clams to an airtight container or wrap them tightly in plastic wrap.
  3. Store the leftover clams in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
  4. To reheat the leftover clams, place them on a baking sheet and heat in a 350°F oven for 10-15 minutes, or until heated through.

Note: It is not recommended to freeze the leftover clams, as the texture and flavor may be compromised upon thawing and reheating. It’s best to enjoy them fresh or within a day or two of making them.

Best Italian Baked Stuffed Clams on a plate with lemon wedges and parsley.

Top tips

  • Fresh clams will provide this dish’s best flavor and texture. Make sure to choose tightly closed clams with a fresh, briny smell.
  • Make sure the clams are clean: Scrub the clams clean under running water and use a brush to remove any grit or sand. This will help prevent any sandy bits from getting into the stuffing mixture.
  • Don’t overstuff the clams: Use enough stuffing to cover the clam meat, but not so much that it overflows. This will help the clams cook evenly and prevent the stuffing from becoming too dry.
  • Use good-quality breadcrumbs: High-quality breadcrumbs will produce a better texture and flavor. You can make your breadcrumbs from fresh bread or use store-bought breadcrumbs.
  • Add lemon wedges: Serving lemon wedges on the side of the dish adds a fresh, tangy flavor that complements the clams perfectly. Squeezing lemon juice over the clams before serving is also a nice touch.
  • Experiment with different cheeses: While pecorino cheese is traditional for this dish, you can also experiment with other hard cheeses, such as Parmesan or Romano, for added flavor.
  • Serve hot: These clams are best served hot out of the oven, so be sure to time your baking so that they are ready just before serving.

FAQs

Can I use larger clams for this recipe?

Yes, you can use larger clams for this recipe, but you may need to adjust the cooking time accordingly.

Can I use other types of cheese instead of pecorino cheese?

Yes, you can use other types of cheese such as parmesan cheese or Grano Padano cheese if you prefer.

How to clean clams

Cleaning clams properly is important to ensure that they are safe to eat and that they taste their best. Here’s how to clean clams for Italian Baked Stuffed Clams Recipe (Oreganata):
Rinse the clams: Place them in a large bowl of cold water and gently swirl them around to remove any sand or grit on the shells. Drain the water and repeat this process a few times until the water is clear.
Scrub the shells: Use a scrub brush to gently scrub the shells of the clams under cold running water. This will remove any dirt, debris, or barnacles that may be on the shells.
Discard any clams that are open: If any of the clams are open, tap them gently on the counter. If they don’t close, discard them, as they are likely dead and may not be safe to eat.
Store the cleaned clams: Once the clams are cleaned and checked, place them in a clean bowl, cover them with a damp towel, and store them in the refrigerator until you are ready to use them.
It’s important to clean the clams before using them to ensure they are as fresh as possible. By following these steps, you can ensure that your clams are clean, safe, and delicious.

Best Italian Baked Stuffed Clams on a small plate ready to eat as an appetizer.

Looking for other recipes? Try these:

What to Serve with Stuffed Clams Oreganata

These are my favorite dishes to serve with clams oreganata:

Make sure to leave a ⭐️star rating on the recipe card and comment below if you make the recipe. I love to connect with you through my recipes.

I would love for you to tag me on Instagram @cucinabyelena so I can see your delicious Italian recipes. To get more ideas, follow me on Pinterest.

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Cover image. Best Italian Baked Stuffed Clams on a plate with lemon wedges and parsley.

Best Italian Baked Stuffed Clams Recipe (Oreganata)

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Best Italian Baked Stuffed Clams Recipe (Oreganata)- There’s nothing quite like a plate of warm and delicious Italian baked stuffed clams to transport your taste buds to the coastal towns of Italy. Perfectly cooked clams, brimming with a flavorful mixture of crispy breadcrumbs, pecorino romano cheese, oregano, fresh parsley, and aromatic garlic. 

  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 24 smaller clams or 12 large clams, scrubbed clean
  • 1 cup bottled clam juice
  • 1 1/2 cups plain breadcrumbs or panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated pecorino romano cheese or parmigiano cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Lemon wedges for serving

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. 
  2. In a large bowl filled with water scrub and clean clams. Open the clams and loosen the muscle underneath the clam meat. Discard the top shell and leave the clam and its juice in the bottom shell.
  3.  Place clams in a single layer in a baking dish, casserole dish, or lined baking sheet. Spoon about 2-3 teaspoons of clam juice over each one. It’s fine if the juice spills over.
  4. Combine the breadcrumbs, cheese, parsley, garlic, oregano, salt, and black pepper in a bowl. Add the olive oil and lemon juice and stir until the mixture is evenly moistened.
  5. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the breadcrumb mixture onto the top of each clam, packing it down with your fingers. 
  6. Bake for 15-18 minutes until the breadcrumbs are golden brown, and the clams are cooked. Do not bake. 
  7. Garnish with fresh parsley. Serve hot with lemon wedges on the side.
  • Author: Elena
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Savory
  • Method: Italian
  • Cuisine: Italian

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About Elena

My dream is to share delicious wholesome recipes that you will share around the table with all your loved ones. The memories surrounded by food are the heart and soul of CucinaByElena.

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1 Comment

  1. Best Italian baked clams recipe! Simple and delicious taste and texture. The breadcrumbs do not overpower the clams. Perfect.