This unlikely-sounding dish is one of the best things I have ever tasted and I kneel at the feet of Debora who cooked it for me at River Cottage. It is very easy to make. A variation is to use Cockles in place of Clams. You will never waste a Cockle by dipping it in vinegar again.
- Yield: 4 Servings as a main course, 6 as a starter
- 25 g butter
- 1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 leek, white part only, trimmed and finely sliced
- 1 tbsp Wild Thyme leaves (ok – it doesn’t have to be wild!)
- 1 tsp fennel seeds, roughly crushed
- 200 g herby pork sausages, skinned and roughly broken into 2 cm pieces
- 1 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
- 400 g tin chopped tomatoes
- 120 ml dry white wine
- 1 kg Clams, well scrubbed
- 3 tbsp flat-leaf parsley or Wild Fennel fronds (or a mixture), chopped
- Melt the butter in a large, heavy-bottomed frying pan over a medium-low heat. Add the onion, leek, thyme and fennel seeds, and sauté gently until the vegetables begin to soften, about 10 minutes.
- Add the sausage pieces and cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes until evenly browned. Stir in the oregano, chopped tomatoes and wine. Turn up the heat and bring to a simmer.
- Add the Clams, cover the pan tightly and cook just until they open, which should take no longer than 4 minutes. Discard any that remain closed. Sprinkle over the parsley and/or fennel fronds. Divide between warmed bowls and eat immediately.