au gratin

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Razor clams au gratin

Published October 8, 2011 by Tony

Cannolicchi au Gratin

Today I want give you another recipe concerning another type of clam that we Neapolitan called “Cannolicchio”, also if it is not common worldwide, being a mollusk living in the Mediterranean sea typically. Besides, it is not a specie reared in culture and so only available in determined seasons.  Being a particular clam,  delicate and quite a delicacy, I hope you can find some imported in your country otherwise remember to taste it during your next trip in Europe.
The bivalve mollusc ‘ Cannolicchio’ is the razor clam  “Solen marginatus” also called as ‘grooved razor shell’.
It is a fragile species usually to eat raw, just fresh-picked  (as oyster)  but there are some particular way to cook it, trying to keep its subtle characteristics as the following recipe. It will give you the way to get a tasty ‘second course’ or an exceptional appetizer.

Ingredients for 4 persons

1,10 lbs  (500 gr) of Cannolicchi (5-6 clams on average per person);
1/2 cup bread crumbs;
olive oil (enough to spread on any clam);
1 tablespoon of parsley, finely chopped;
1/2 clove garlic;
A splash of white wine;
A pinch of Salt and Pepper.


Note, the razor clams should be keep in the seawater and in a fresh place till the preparation.

Punta in alto   Prepare a sauce mixing oil, a handful of  breadcrumbs, parsley and garlic finely chopped, wine, salt and pepper (optional).

Punta in alto   Open the clams carefully with a sharp knife. This is the most difficult and demanding task of this recipe because the long and thin shells are very delicate. Try to stick the knife’s point at the latter interior part of the shell, then sliding slowly the knife inside with the intent  to fold down one shell. Usually, it should have to keep one valve only, but you also may keep both the shells if you like it. Wash the clam and at this time I prefer to remove the entrails too. Gut is easily visible because the small blackish or brown part of the mollusc in the middle external part of the animal. Help yourself with the knife’s point, avoiding to ruin too much the soft body and mantle. Put the open shell in large pan or casserole, one close to another in a row.


Punta in alto Turn on the oven and reach 180°C (355°F).

Punta in alto  With a tablespoon pour the sauce on every clam, then with the hand sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top till to cover any clam.

Punta in alto  Put the pan in the preheated oven until the breadcrumbs are golden and crisp and the clams cooked, it needs not more than 10 – 15 minutes according to cannolicchi size.


Punta in alto   Serve and eat when acceptably warm. A dry light Italian white wine is the best drink for this dish.