It's hard to resist what happens when fresh clams are topped with a bread-crumb mixture and slipped inside an oven.
Oftentimes, olive oil and Italian herbs are involved. Maybe lemon, onion or garlic. Other things, too. It's all up to the chef.
Here are a few places that get the most out of clams and an oven.
STANGO'S AT THE ORCHARD, 19 Grove St., Glen Cove, 516-671-2389
At this recently reborn Italian landmark, chef Gabriel Massaro offers a simple, classic version featuring local littleneck clams baked beneath a mantle of house-made bread crumbs mixed with herbs, cheese, garlic and seasonings.
KB'S BURGER SHACK, 411 W. Main St., Patchogue, 631-627-6677
Offering more than just burgers, this pub-style spot serves up baked cherrystone clams imbued with a lovely smokiness, thanks to the addition of chopped bacon.
CIRO'S ITALIAN RESTAURANT, 74 Main St., Kings Park, 631-269-2600, and 470 Wheeler Rd., Hauppauge, 631-761-6378
At these Suffolk siblings, the whole littlenecks oreganata are baked with a mantle of herbed crumbs and cheese, a garlicky white wine sauce spooned over when served.
TRE SORELLE, 347 Glen Cove Ave. Sea Cliff, 516-676-2900
Though the small strip mall restaurant-pizzeria may seem like an ordinary pizzeria, chef Pedro Campos ensures the baked clams, topped with bread crumbs, possess a winning marine quality.