Cold Smoked Clam Marinières with Spinach & Pasta

Further to last month’s post for smoked shellfish I had the pleasure of finding local clams on the fish stall this week and couldn’t resist making a smoky version of what is traditionally a mussel dish writes Sandra Tate…

Before beginning, have the Bradley Smoker set to cold smoke (cold smoke attachment not necessary as the clams are being smoked so briefly and will already be cooked). Add oak bisquettes to the stack and set for 30 minutes, top vent almost closed, (which will allow the cabinet to be smoke filled before placing the clams inside).

I can’t emphasize enough that shellfish must be cooked very briefly or you will produce a disappointingly rubbery result. For 2 people you will need 800g of fresh clams, rinsed and checked that they are all firmly closed after being swirled vigorously. Drain in a colander then place in a pan over medium/high heat with a lid on and toss occasionally until they have opened (probably a couple of minutes will do it). Remove from the heat immediately and sieve, reserving the clam liquid, lay the clams in shells across a foil covered Bradley wire rack. Smoke for 10 minutes and remove, set aside.

Now make a sauce marinières. Peel and finely chop a large banana shallot and crush a large clove of garlic with ½tsp salt to a paste. Melt 30g butter in a saucepan and add the garlic & shallot, cook over low heat for 4 minutes until softened but not colouring. Now add a small glass of white wine, increase the heat and reduce to syrup. Add the reserved clam juice and reduce again over high heat to half its volume. Lastly add 3tbsp double cream and reduce again by a third then return the smoked clams to the pan.  After 2 minutes turn off the heat but place a lid over to keep warm.

Fill a pan with salted water and bring to the boil. Add 250g fresh pasta of your choice (this usually takes 2-3 minutes to cook but check the packet) and 100g young spinach leaves. Drain well and season liberally with black pepper before turning in the clams and their sauce. Divide between 2 warm pasta bowls and serve immediately.