11 Tasty Recipes for Canned Clams
One of the most affordable resources for cheap seafood is canned clams. Available for smaller recipes at most grocery stores, or in bulk at warehouse stores, canned clams provide low-fat protein and loads of style. From pasta sauce to appetizer stuffing, here are some of my favorite ways to use canned clams to their greatest potential.
As a mushroom fan from way back, I know there are plenty of ways to enjoy stuffed mushrooms. Filled with sausage, various veg-friendly options, and yes, with seafood. This recipe for stuffed mushrooms uses canned clams with class, although it’s a bit heavy on the butter for my taste. I’d probably reduce that ingredient quite a bit if I was making them at home.
Red Clam Sauce
In my younger years, my taste buds just didn’t groove with the red-sauce-and-seafood flavor pairing. Guess it’s one of those things that grows on you, because now it’s something I really enjoy. And using canned clams in bulk really helps keep it affordable. Using this multipurpose recipe for marinara sauce as a base, I adjust for size and add canned clams and a bit of the juice. I also go less on the spicy for my red clam sauce (personal choice) and add a bit more brown sugar. I don’t like it sweet necessarily, just mellow and a bit more clammy than most might choose.
A Sexy Seafood Ragout
I ran across this cooking video featuring Jacques Pepin while researching this post. It features a white bean, clam, broccoli, and sausage ragout that’s super cheap and looks FANTASTIC. (Just make sure to watch the video — for some reason, the clams aren't included in recipe listed on his site, even though he clearly uses them in his demonstration.) Use boxed wine for spritzers or sangria and pair the entire meal with a fresh loaf of French bread made in your machine. Here are several make-ahead bread mixes for inspiration.
It’s hard to talk canned clams without mentioning the chowder experience. While there are many to choose from, this particular clam chowder recipe caught my eye. Make some homemade biscuits or toss some bread sticks in the oven to go along with it. Yes, it’s a carb overload. But in my mind, that’s what enjoying clam chowder’s all about.
Nothing says party like clam dip. At least that’s the way it was growing up in my house. If there was a sports event on television, a card-game get-together, or communal event of any kind, somebody had better be signed up to bring clam dip. One of my favorite ways to enjoy it is with this recipe for hot clam dip, which makes a fun addition to family finger-food night.
White Clam Sauce
Some people certainly do their best to go broke when it comes to white clam sauce, but I manage to pull mine off on a budget with rave reviews. I start with this dry mix recipe for cream soup as a base, add a bit of cream cheese for weight, and include canned clams with a bit of the juice to round out the seafood flavor. I like doing it this way, because the size of the recipe is easily tweaked for larger or smaller dinner parties, and the base recipe can be turned into something different the next day, like a chowder or dip. Provided there are any leftovers at all, that is. Serve over linguini and pair with bread sticks and a green salad.
Pair Them with Corn
I know. Who would have thought, right? The first time I had it was when a friend of mine did a side dish of seasoned rice that included canned clams and whole kernel corn. It was delicate and subtle. I couldn’t find an exact replica online, but I did find this recipe for a clam and corn soufflé. (If any of you have any great clam-and-corn combo recipes you’d like to post below in the comment section, please consider this an open call.)
Showcasing seafood in a casserole is basically the best of both worlds: A touch of decadence that makes great budget sense. Here’s one recipe for clam casserole that caught my attention. Another idea that comes to mind is to take the red clam sauce recipe idea above and mix it in with a leftover small pasta like ziti or penne. Stir in your cheese of choice and a few chopped herbs, and Bob’s your uncle. Serve with mixed greens and a nice affordable wine.
Baked in a Ramekin
Anything you can spread on bread adds an affordability factor to your menu. This recipe for chopped baked clams served individually in ramekins certainly provides elegance and style while working in the ability to pinch pennies by using canned clams. It’s a great starter course for a meal or fun to have on the buffet at a party; just do a bigger batch in a ceramic tart dish.
This unique rolled clam appetizer combines seafood style with the affordability of canned clams and day-old bread from the thrift store. I don’t know if I would call them elegant exactly, but certainly fun party food with pizzazz that’s suitable for a Super Bowl gathering.
These clam fritters are certainly yummy. If you don’t want to deal with hauling out all of those ingredients, I would think you could pull the same thing off using this bulk recipe for low-fat baking mix. We keep it on hand at our house for anything that calls for biscuit mix, as it keeps things convenient and affordable.
What are your favorite recipes for canned clams?