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 about one hour. Open the quahogs 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 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 of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute 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 a 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 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 should bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until they are lightly browned on the top and hot. Serve with lemon.
Note: 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.
Recipe from Joe LaPointe of Mashpee appeared in the 2010 Winter issue of Cape Cod HOME.