Clams with Bacon Crust

3:10 pm on 27 April 2012

This crunchy salty sweet topping makes a great contrast to juicy clams.

(Serves 4-6)

Ingredients

  • 1 kg (30) New Zealand littleneck clams
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 100g chunky thick sliced dry-cured bacon, chopped
  • 1 cup coarse sour dough breadcrumbs
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 2 Tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • lemon wedges
  • 2 medium vine tomatoes, chopped and drained in a sieve for 10 minutes
  • finely grated zest half a lemon

Method

1 Rinse clams then soak in a sink of cold water for 5 minutes, agitating them from time to time. Transfer clams without the water to a large bowl. Rinse sink, then return clams to it and soak in cold water for a few minutes more. If the water is gritty repeat the washing process until water is clear. Transfer clams to a large saucepan with just the water clinging to them. Cover the pan with a lid and set it over a medium-high heat. As the clams open, transfer them to a large bowl. Discard any clams that don't open, or any empty shells. Strain juices into a small bowl. Wipe out pan.

2 As soon as the clams are cool enough to handle, open each one and remove clam meat from shell. Return it to one of the shells, moistening it with any clam juices.

3 Heat 1 tsp oil in a medium-sized frying pan over medium heat and drop in the bacon. Cook until crisp and golden then transfer to a side plate. Add remaining oil, let it get hot, then add crumbs and fry until golden and crisp. Season with a little sea salt and add garlic and lemon zest. Tip onto a plate to cool, then transfer to a bowl and mix in tomatoes.

4 Arrange clams in a shallow ovenproof dish. Mix parsley with crumbs then spoon crumb mixture over clams. Season with a little black pepper. Grill until lightly golden. Serve hottish.

From Jesse Mulligan, 1–4pm

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