This dish takes its inspiration from Spain, where it can be found on tapas menus all over the southern coast.
The clams are cooked with the lid on so that they steam in the pan, releasing gorgeous juices that then mix with the other ingredients to create a wonderful sauce for which the best accompaniment is crusty bread.
Serves 4-6 as tapas, or 2 as a main course.
You will need:
1kg (2lb 3oz) fresh clams 3 tablespoons olive oil 1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped 1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped Pinch of saffron threads
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika 50ml (2fl oz) dry sherry, such as fino 1 tablespoon tomato paste 2 tablespoons parsley, roughly chopped Crusty white bread, to serve First check that all the clams are closed, discarding any that stay open when tapped on a hard surface. To clean the clams, place them in a bowl or sink of cold water and let them soak for 30 minutes; this should help get rid of any sand. Drain the clams and set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a wide saucepan over a medium heat, then add the finely chopped onion and saute for about five minutes or until soft and golden. Add the finely chopped garlic, the saffron threads, the smoked paprika, the dry sherry, the tomato paste, the chopped parsley, and the drained clams. Cover with a lid and cook for 3-4 minutes or until all the clams have completely opened. Discard any that have not.
Tip into serving bowls and serve immediately, mopping up the juices with chunks of crusty white bread.
The quantities in this recipe can be halved or multiplied, depending on how many you're feeding.