This dish has been a favourite of mine this summer simply because I love clams and any dish you can mop up with bread. The sweet meat of the clams is enhanced by the smoky flavour of the broth and the coriander brings with it the right amount of freshness. An added bonus - it takes less than 30 minutes!
Serves 2 as an appetiser
2 spring onions, sliced thinly
1 1/2 T spice mix
500g clams (vongole), scrubbed
1/4 cup white wine
2 T creme fraiche
1 t achiote paste (South American supermarkets will stock it. Alternative: chili powder)
2 t coriander seeds
2 T peppercorn blend
4 t cumin seeds
1. Fill a sink with cold water, add a good pinch of salt and soak the clams for 20 minutes. The clams will purge the sand inside. Gently remove the clams from the sink and transfer to a colander - try not to pick up the sand that has settled at the bottom. Rinse the clams with running water.
2. Grind the spices with a mortar and pestle.
3. Coat a heavy based fry pan with olive oil. On medium heat, fry the onion for 3 minutes - until translucent.
4. Add the spice mix and toast for 30 seconds, stir constantly.
5. Add the clams to the pan, stir to coat with the spice mix, then add the white wine (if you like a little more broth, add more white wine). Cover with a lid and steam for 3-5 minutes.
6. Stir through the creme fraiche. Garnish generously with coriander leaves and serve warm with crusty bread to mop up the juices.