By Joe LaPointe
- 22 medium sized quahogs
- 1/3 pound of bacon, cut into 1 ½ “ strips
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 stalks of celery, chopped
- ¼ cup red pepper, chopped
- 6 tablespoons of butter, plus more for topping finished quahogs
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- cheap white bread, cut into 1” cubes (use 1 slice for every 2 clams)
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 cup or more of plain bread crumbs
- grated Parmesan cheese
- Scrub the shell of the quahog with a brush to remove any dirt. Discard any cracked or open shells.
- Place cleaned quahogs on a rimmed baking sheet and place in freezer for approximately one hour. Open the quahog and save the meat and juice in a freezable container. Freeze quahogs until mostly frozen. (Or you can freeze the meat and juice for a later date. Just remove the container from the freezer and let thaw slightly.)
- Clean any remaining meat and the hinges from the shells. Place shells in a large pot of water and bring to a boil for 5 minutes. Remove from water, rinse, and store in a plastic bag in the freezer.
- Remove the container of quahogs with juice and the shells from the freezer. Rinse and dry the shells.
- Fry bacon until it is about ¾ of the way cooked. Drain on paper towel and set aside.
- Chop the frozen block of quahogs.
- Heat 6 tablespoons of butter and ¼ cup olive in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté onion, celery and red pepper until the onions are transparent. Place quahogs on top of the onion, pepper and celery mixture. Don’t stir quahogs into mixture until they start to release their liquid. Then stir and add the chopped parsley. Cook for approximately 10 minutes or until the quahogs are cooked. Turn this mixture into a large bowl. Add the cubed bread, beaten egg, pepper and cup of breadcrumbs. Mix this together and add more breadcrumbs until the stuffing has the consistency of holiday stuffing.
- Fill with stuffing to the top of a single shell. Make a little hole in the center of the stuffed quahog and place ¼ of a teaspoon of butter in the hole. Top each quahog with 5-6 drops of lemon juice, a light sprinkle of Parmesan cheese, a piece of bacon and a sprinkle of paprika.
- Quahogs can be baked now at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until they are lightly browned on the top and hot. Serve with lemon.
- If you would like to freeze the quahogs without baking, place on a rimmed baking pan in the freezer. When frozen, they can be placed in a plastic bag and returned to the freezer. To heat, bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes or until they are lightly browned on the top and hot. Serve with lemon.