Stuffed Bake Clams

· 2 dozen Cherry Stone clams – reserve shell for later use

· Reserve Clam broth for later to mix in with mixture

· 1 1/4 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs)

· 2 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley

· ½ red bell pepper diced

· 1 stalk of celery diced

· 4 grated lemon zest

· 1 garlic clove minced

· 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or until mixture becomes moist

· Melt butter for brushing clam shell (optional)

· Salt and pepper to taste

· Lemon wedges

1. Put olive oil in pan, sauté garlic until golden brown. Then add one cup of water to pan before placing clams in there. Cover pan let clams cook until they open. Then turn off heat and remove clams. Reserve clam juice for later use.

2. While waiting on clams to cool down. Preheat oven to 375 degrees, placing the rack on the third roll from top. Once clams are cool, remove clam meat from shells. You can dice the clams by hand or place them in a food processor – reserve shells for later use.

3. In a mixing bowl mix: clam meat, panko, parsley; 2 tablespoon of olive oil; lemon zest; celery, bell peppers and slowly add in clam juice to mixture (mixture should be moist and kind of resemble white sand). Since the clams are cooked; you can taste the mixture - season with salt and pepper to taste.

4. You can brush each clam shells with olive oil or melted butter – your choice.

5. Spoon mixture of clam mix into shell; top with a little more panko crumbs and press mixture into clam lightly.

6. Place clams onto baking pan. Bake for about 15 minutes or until they sizzle and/or golden brown to your liking. Remove let cool before serving with lemon wedges – enjoy!

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