Heat 1 cup of the oil in a heavy-duty 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the bread, in batches if necessary, and fry until crisp and golden-brown, about 4 minutes per batch, stirring occasionally. With a slotted spoon, transfer the croutons to a plated lined with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Pour the oil left in the pan into a heatproof container, let cool, and discard.
Cook the bacon in the skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 12 minutes. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels and set aside.
Heat the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil in a 6-quart heavy-duty pot over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until light brown and fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the onion, pepper flakes, and oregano. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until softened but not browned, about 5 minutes.
Increase the heat to medium high. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring frequently, until it darkens slightly, about 3 minutes. Stir in the wine, bring to a boil, and cook until the wine reduces by about half, 1 to 2 minutes.
Add 2 cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes to meld the flavors. Stir in the Tabasco.
Return the broth to a boil over high heat. Add the clams and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Cook, shaking the pot occasionally until the clams begin to open, about 3 minutes. Add the reserved bacon and half of the parsley. Continue to cook, covered, until the clams have opened fully, 5 to 7 minutes more.
Remove the clams from the broth with a slotted spoon or tongs and transfer to large serving bowls. Season the broth to taste and ladle it over the clams. Garnish with the croutons and the remaining parsley.
nutrition information (per serving):
sat fat g
Photo: Scott Phillips