This moreish dish combines the fresh light flavour of clams with the richness of bacon and the sweetness of cider to produce the perfect harmony of Autumnal flavours. Clams are one of the easiest ingredients to prepare and they cook in just minutes, meaning you can serve up a restaurant-quality meal in under 20 minutes.
Because there are only a few ingredients, it is worthwhile to buy the best you can as the flavours really speak for themselves. So instead of the usual rasher bacon, try finding some speciality smoked bacon. And if there is an organic or cloudy apple cider available, then use that one for maximum flavour.
- 2kg small cockle/vongole clams, cleaned
- 150g smoked bacon rashers, chopped
- 1 carrot, peeled, finely chopped
- 1 stick celery, trimmed, finely chopped
- 1 small leek, finely chopped (white part only)
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
- 300ml good-quality dry apple cider
- A handful of chopped fresh parsley
- Crusty bread, thickly sliced
- 1 garlic clove, peeled
- Heat some olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and fry the bacon until they are turning crisp
- Add vegetables and cook for a 4-5 minutes to release and cook off some of their liquid
- Add the clams and cider and cover the pan with a lid. Bring to the boil and allow clams to cook for a few minutes, watching to see the clams open. Discard any clams that have not opened during cooking.
- Meanwhile, start toasting your bread and when ready, drizzle with olive oil and rub with the garlic clove
- As the last step, stir the parsley through the broth. To serve, place a piece of toast in the bottom of a large bowl and ladle over the clams and cider broth.