Borlotti, clams and fino

Borlotti, clams and fino

By
From
My Favourite Ingredients
Serves
4
Photographer
Jason Lowe

The combination of fresh clams and fino sherry is a marriage made in heaven. Borlotti beans are equally at home here, as they mop up all the lovely flavours and pad the dish out. Salty, deep and delicious, I never tire of this dish.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1.5kg fresh clams
1 fennel bulb, trimmed and tough outer layer removed
4-5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 dried red chilli
3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
250g good-quality peeled plum tomatoes, (from a jar or tin)
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
200ml fino sherry
400g cooked borlotti beans
bunch flat leaf parsley, leaves stripped and roughly chopped

Method

  1. Pick over the clams, discarding any that are damaged or open and do not close when gently squeezed. To clean the clams, simply leave them immersed in cold water for 20 minutes or so.
  2. Roughly chop the fennel. Heat 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil in a heavy-based saucepan (large enough to hold all the ingredients comfortably) over a medium heat. Add the chopped fennel and cook gently for 5 minutes.
  3. Now crumble in the chilli, and add the garlic and tomatoes. Stir well to combine and break up the tomatoes. Season with a small pinch of salt, bearing in mind the saltiness of the clams. Let bubble gently for about 10 minutes to reduce the tomatoes slightly and bring out the warmth of the chilli and flavour of the garlic.
  4. Add the clams and sherry. Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid, turn the heat to high and cook for about 3 minutes. Once the clams have opened, add the cooked borlotti beans and warm through.
  5. Drizzle in the rest of the olive oil and sprinkle over the parsley. Stir well to combine and add a good grinding of pepper. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary – the flavour should be salty and unctuous with a marked dryness, which is the fino’s contribution. Ladle into warm soup plates and serve immediately.
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