When you want to treat your guests to something extraordinary, make this appetizer with fresh-from-the-sea clams. Bacon and Parmesan cheese are added to the bread crumbs and chopped clams for a rich and savory stuffing.
1. Discard any clams that are cracked, chipped or open. Soak in a bowl of water for 20 minutes to clean.
2. Meanwhile, cook bacon in a skillet over medium-high heat for 6 minutes or until crispy. Set on paper towels to drain.
3. Once clams have soaked, scrub one by one with a brush to remove any additional sand or barnacles.
4. Fill a large pot with a steamer insert with 1 inch of water. Heat to simmering, add clams and cover. Cook, covered, for 4 to 6 minutes, or until all shells open up. Take off heat; remove clams from pan, reserving liquid. Let clams cool slightly. Pull off top shell and remove clam from shell to a cutting board. Coarsely chop clams.
5. Heat broiler. Place 24 clam shells on a baking sheet. In a large bowl, combine clams, bacon, bread crumbs, Parmesan, oregano, garlic powder and black pepper. Stir to blend. Drizzle with olive oil and 2 tablespoons of the reserved cooking liquid. Stir until moist. Spoon stuffing into clam shells, dividing equally.
6. Broil stuffed clams for 2 to 3 minutes, until browned on top. Serve warm.NOTE:
7. If you are unable to hand-pick the clams, order a few extra in case some are damaged and have to be discarded.