A great summery starter or informal lunch.
Serve as a starter before a light main course or for lunch followed by a plate of cheese and some summer fruit.
• 3tbsp olive oil
• 4 garlic cloves, crushed
• 1 small onion, very finely chopped
• generous pinch of saffron strands
• pinch of dried chillies
• large glass of nice white wine
• salt and freshly ground pepper
• 1kg small clams
• squeeze of lemon juice
• handful of chopped fresh parsley
1) Heat the oil in a large shallow pan, add the garlic and onion and cook very slowly until softened, stirring now and again.
2) Add the saffron and chillies and cook for a few minutes more.
3) Pour in the white wine, let it bubble rapidly to boil off the alcohol, and then season. (This mixture can be made ahead and left in the pan until ready to eat.)
4) Thoroughly wash the clams and discard any that are cracked or open. Add to the pan with a mugful of boiling water. Cover and cook for a couple of minutes until the clams are open.
5) Squeeze over the lemon juice and scatter with the parsley.
6) Put the pan on the table and get everyone to help themselves.
7) Serve with lots of bread to mop up the juices.