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Home Cooking

Clamming it up

Written by . Published on January 20th 2012.


Home Cooking

POSITIVELY the most expensive food you can buy at the moment are clams. Although they come in at a seemingly modest £15 a kilo, the weight of the shells makes them more expensive than a rib of beef or a free range chicken – for a fraction of the protein.

Jamie Oliver tells us that they are classic peasant food so these peasants must be bankers. All of which suggests they should be treated with respect. There are surprisingly few recipes if you discount throwing a few over some other fish as garnish, but of course there is vongole with spaghetti or at Barrafina where they come the same way without spaghetti at all. Or at Brawn with a variation on just lemon and coriander. Easy tapas. Easy finger food.

Most recipes suggest cooking them like mussels i.e. sweat the garlic and or shallot with a little chili in oil and perhaps butter, then a glass of white wine, then the clams, cover and steam open. Job done.

The wine does not really add a great deal and the juices are a bit of a dead end in terms of making a sauce or a soup, unlike the more generous mussels. It just serves to dilute. Jose Etura at Barrafina sides with me in thinking that the results are better if you split the process into two. First cook the clams in some olive oil to open. In a second pan sweat your garlic, chili, shallot with butter then add the open clams and some fresh olive oil – good quality virgin and fruity – lemon and lastly, your herbs. Appreciate.

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