Grilled Razor Clams with Chilli Fennel and Thyme, from Adam Byatt
- 16 razor clams (about 1.2kg total weight)
- 2 sticks celery
- 1 head fennel
- 1 small leek (white part only)
- 1 large onion
- 1 red chilli
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 bunch lemon thyme
- 10g Parmesan
- 50g fresh white breadcrumbs
- 120g butter
- 250ml white wine
- sea salt
Wash the clams well under cold running water to remove any sand.
Trim the celery, fennel and leek and peel the onion, reserving all the trimmings and peelings. Cut all the vegetables into 1cm dice. Neat dicing is not essential, but it will help all the vegetables to cook evenly in the same time. Finely chop the chilli, reserving the seeds. Peel and finely chop the garlic. Add the chopped garlic and chilli to the diced vegetables. Tie the thyme sprigs together with string.
Grate the Parmesan and mix with the breadcrumbs.
- Put all the reserved vegetable trimmings and the chilli seeds into a large saucepan with the thyme and half of the butter. Place the pan over a high heat and cook the vegetables quickly – after 2 minutes they should have softened. Add the wine and reduce by half.
- Now add the clams and cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid. Cook over a high heat for 4 minutes or until the clams have fully opened, then tip the contents of the pan into a colander set over a bowl and let the liquid strain through.
- Take the clams out of their shells: begin by removing the foot part and then discard the stomach (you will recognize this as the solid mass of mussel as opposed to the disjointed belly that is half attached). Wash the shells for serving the clams. Slice the clams about the same size as the diced vegetables.
- Preheat the grill on a medium setting.
- Put the diced vegetable mix into a saucepan with the remaining butter and a small sprinkling of sea salt. Allow the vegetables to sweat down over a medium heat until softened, then add the cooking liquid from the clams and boil rapidly until reduced by half. Now add the clams and remove the pan from the heat.
- Spoon the clams and vegetables into the shells. Sprinkle over the Parmesan mix and grill until a light golden brown.
This recipe works equally well with other shellfish such as large mussels and cockles, they’re just a bit more fiddly than razor clams.
By Adam Byatt