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Recipe

Clams on steamed new potatoes and rocket

Clams are sweet and succulent little morsels, not strong like oysters or chewy like mussels. Give them a Spanish flavour with sizzled bacon, smoked paprika and a splash of wine, then ladle the lot over baby steamed potatoes and strew with rocket. Perfect change-of-season fare.

  • 10 mins preparation
  • 25 mins cooking
  • Serves 4
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Ingredients

Clams on steamed new potatoes and rocket
  • 1.2 kilogram new zealand littleneck clams
  • 500 gram new potatoes
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 100 gram thickly sliced dry-cured bacon, roughly chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • zest 1 lemon, finely grated
  • 1 tablespoon thyme
  • 1/4 cup full-bodied dry white wine
  • 175 gram small vine tomatoes, skinned and quartered
  • 100 gram wild rocket

Method

Clams on steamed new potatoes and rocket
  • 1
    Wash clams under running water, then fill sink with cold water and agitate for a few minutes. Drain, rinse and repeat. Soak in cold water for 5–10 minutes. If the water feels gritty, soak them again in fresh water. Drain briefly before using.
  • 2
    Scrub potatoes, put them in a steamer, sprinkle with ¼ tsp salt and cook until just tender (or boil gently). If the skins are tough, peel when cool enough to handle. Slice thickly.
  • 3
    Put onion, bacon and garlic in a large deep frying pan or gratin pan (large enough to fit the clams) with olive oil. Cover and cook gently for 15 minutes, until everything is tender. Remove lid and let everything brown for 5 minutes. Add paprika, zest, thyme, ½ tsp salt and white wine. Cook for 3–4 minutes, then add clams and tomatoes, cover pan and cook just until clams steam open.
  • 4
    Arrange sliced potatoes in pasta bowls. Ladle in the clams and juices then strew with rocket. Serve immediately.

Notes

Although clams are widely stocked around New Zealand, you may need to order them. Southern Clams are my pick – see nzclams.com for stockists. When you get them home, transfer them to a bowl and store in the fridge. Fresh clams will keep for about a week – if you are buying them in advance, it is important to know how old they are. - Julie Biuso

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