12slices of bacon, each cut into halves Parsley for garnish
Preheat oven to hot (450°F.).
Wash the clams well and place them in a kettle with the water. Steam over moderate heat just until the clams open wide. Remove the meat and reserve half the shells for stuffing. Reserve the clam broth.
Remove the meat from the clams and grind it. Combine it with the onion, celery, pepper and bread crumbs. Dampen the mixture with clam broth, just enough to bind. Stuff the twenty-four reserved clam shells.
Lay half a slice of bacon across the top of each stuffed clam and arrange the clams on a baking dish. Bake until bacon is crisp. Garnish each stuffed clam with a parsley sprig and serve hot, with lemon wedges if desired.