20 Delicious Recipes for Canned Clams

by Rebecca Leib on 4 November 2013 0 comments
Photo: stu_spivack

Canned clams are often overlooked when it comes to affordable and tasty seafood options….and it's time to change that. This low-fat seafood treat can be added to classic dishes or be the star of its own entree. So get thee to your local grocery store and buy some canned clams and experiment with these 20 delicious recipes for this unique and tasty protein! (See also: 70 Delicious Shrimp Recipes)

1. Paella

Whether you're going for an all-out Paella or a scaled down version, you can utilize canned clams to cut the cost but not the flavor. The clam's natural acidity is well-preserved in canned form, so don't feel like you are cheating anyone out of great paella if you use some canned clams.

2. Pizza

Yes, I give you permission to put canned clams on your pizza… in fact, I encourage it! Either white or red sauces work great with the addition of clams, though in both cases, I'd encourage you to keep your pizza simple. For red sauce, stick to veggies or cheese, and for white sauce, you might want to go just clams, clams and mushrooms, or clams and peppers. This white pizza with clams recipe from Eating Well is a particularly good recipe to start off with.

3. Ceviche

A classic made simple. This simple ceviche recipe uses canned baby clams, everyday seasonings, and fresh scallions to create a very sophisticated dish without much prep or money. Serve over lettuce or with a delicious, crusty piece of bread. Yum!

4. Cream Cheese Won Tons

Won Tons are great, but you can make them even better (and more sophisticated!) by adding some canned clams for a better texture and heartier flavor. This cream cheese won ton recipe also uses water chestnuts, though they are optional if you want to keep the texture more smooth than chunky.

5. Clam Chowder

A creamy clam chowder is a great way to artfully use those canned clams. It's hard to mess chowder up, so if you're new to chowders and cooking with clams, this recipe could be a great fit for you. It also incorporates cheese and bacon for some added depth of flavor.

6. Cold Clam Salad

A great dish for a day at the beach, you can substitute canned clams for fresh ones in a cold clam salad and still have a lovely, light summer plate. This cold clam salad recipe uses crab legs, too, but you can also use imitation crab.

7. Alfredo Sauce

Canned clams work great in a cream base (the clam chowder is a case in point), so take your Alfredo sauce to the next level by adding some clams into the mix. This white clam sauce recipe is simple and flavorful.

8. Stuffed Mushrooms

This recipe for stuffed mushrooms uses canned clams expertly, allowing the earthiness of the mushroom and the saltiness of the clam to complement each other. You may, however, want to cut some of the butter if you're trying to make a healthier version, and  you can skip the dry white wine if you prefer. (See also: 6 Simple Seafood Appetizers)

9. Rice and Clams

Rice, stir-fried with clams, tomatoes, white wine, and garlic showcases the nice texture and salty finish of the clams without putting you out a lot of cash. In this rice and clam recipe, the wine and chicken bouillon are keys to flavor.

10. Clam Dip

Spinach dip, salsa, guacamole…party dips can seem a little played out. Distinguish yourself at a party by trying out this hot clam dip, which is hearty and a change from your average party fare.

11. Clam Mousse

Take your clams into retro culinary territory with a nice clam mousse! Ideal for "Mad Men" parties or any adventurous occasion, this mousse is light and flavorful and can be eaten in slices or with your favorite cracker. (See also: 10 Frugal, Classy Appetizers)

12. Clam Fritters

These clam fritters are a huge hit at parties. The recipe might be a little ambitious for some, but the payoff is tasty, light-yet-satisfying fritters. Up the wow factor by pairing the fritters with some dill creme fraiche, fresh limes, and hot sauce.

13. Ramekin Baked Clams

Try chopped baked clams served in ramekins for a baked clam experience in elegance and daintiness not often present in a dip. Of course, you can lose the ramekins if you want to make a bigger batch!

14. Clam and Corn Souffle

Canned clams with fresh corn is an excellent pairing, putting notes of sweet and salty together for a great entrée or side. This clam and corn souffle adds a component of creaminess to the clam/corn flavor profile.

15. Seafood Casserole

Sick of everyday casseroles, but don't have a ton of money to experiment? Incorporate canned clams! Cooks.com's clam and noodle casserole takes traditional casserole ingredients (like potato chips, noodles, and mushroom soup) and makes a lovely seafood casserole that is filling and flavorful.

16. Seafood Cioppino

This ornate, flavorful seafood dish can put you out some cash, so it's completely OK (and encouraged) to substitute canned clams for fresh ones. This recipe uses lots of fresh seafood with canned clams and tomatoes, so you can enjoy a nice meal without breaking the bank.

17. Thai Stir-Fry

Canned clams are a creative way to get some extra protein into a Thai stir fry, especially one that might need a little salt to cut the sweet. This stir-fry recipe uses lots of authentic Thai ingredients and seafood for the perfect Thai bite. Substitute their seafood for your canned clams, and you can cut the cost of this dish down by quite a bit!

18. Spaghetti

Take the traditional buttered spaghetti noodle and make it even more satisfying by adding clams in their juice to the spaghetti recipe. Mom's Kitchen Handbook has a particularly delicious and simple clams and spaghetti recipe that will appeal to picky eaters and pasta connoisseurs alike.

19. Sailor Clams

A traditional Spanish take on clam soup, this spicy dish showcases the clam's luscious texture. Try this popular AllRecipes Sailor Clams recipe, or improvise with meat-based bouillon, spices, and wine.

20. Cheese Clam Rolls

This dish will seem expensive and taste amazing. Cheese clam rolls are a great, no-fuss appetizer or can complete a buffet spread at a small party. You can add more or less cheese to taste.

Inspired yet? Tell us any great canned clam recipes that should make the list!

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