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Clams Casino Vs. Stuffed Clam

Clams have been a staple in New England for hundreds of years, offering a rich source of flavors and textures that can be harnessed in various preparations. 

Among the favorites are clam casino and stuffed clams, two dishes that, at first glance may seem similar due to their presentation of clam meat in its half shell.  

Despite sharing this common feature, clams casino and stuffed clams exhibit distinct characteristics that set them apart. 

In this post, we explore the features that set clams casino and stuffed clams apart. 

What is clams casino

The origins of clams casino can be traced back to 1917 when Julius Keller first crafted this savory dish at a casino in Rhode Island.

Today, it is enjoyed nationwide, often with slight variations in the recipe.  

Typically, small-sized clams like littleneck or cherrystone clams are used for this preparation. 

To create clams casino, the clams are shucked open, and the meat is carefully removed. 

The shells are then halved, with one half discarded, and the other meticulously washed. 

The topping is where the magic happens. A mixture of breadcrumbs, sautéed vegetables, crispy fried bacon, and cheese is generously added to the clam meat.  

Clams casino is seasoned with oregano, paprika, basil, salt, pepper, dry white wine, and a splash of lemon juice for a burst of freshness. 

The baking process involves placing the stuffed clam shells on a layer of rock salt in a baking pan. 

This not only ensures even cooking but also adds a subtle briny flavor to the dish.  

What is stuffed clams?

Stuffed clams are another popular clam dish in Rhode Island, commonly found in local restaurants. 

This dish Is also known as Stuffed Quahogs, and it exhibits variations in both ingredients and preparation methods.  

Typically, large-sized hard-shell clams, known as quahogs, are used. 

Fresh or canned clams can be utilized, but the preference leans towards fresh clams for optimal flavor.  

The clam meat is chopped or minced and mixed with breadcrumbs.  

Additional flavor is infused with ingredients such as onion, garlic, celery, bell pepper, various spices, herbs, lemon juice, and cheese. 

The resulting mixture is then carefully stuffed back into the clam’s half shell.  

The stuffed clams are baked or broiled in the oven until the breadcrumb mixture achieves a desirable golden-brown hue.  

Often served as an appetizer, stuffed clams come with a side of lemon wedges for an extra zing. 

Difference between clams casino and stuffed clams

Here are a few ways to differentiate between clams casino and stuffed clams  

Clam size

Clams Casino is typically made with smaller-sized clams, such as little neck or cherry stone clams, while stuffed clams use larger-sized clams, often referred to as quahogs.  

The larger size of the quahogs provides more space within the half shell to accommodate a stuffing made from a mix of chopped or minced clam meat and various other ingredients. 

Ingredients

The filling in stuffed clams is simpler, usually consisting of breadcrumbs, minced clams, and seasonings. 

On the other hand, clams casino has a more diverse array of ingredients, including bacon and various vegetables, making it a more flavorful and complex dish.