Nigel Slater’s recipe for clams, peas and sherry

The recipe
You will need 500g of small clams, checked carefully for any cracks or chips.

Melt 30g of butter in a deep casserole to which you have a lid, then add 1 tbsp of olive oil.

Tip 250g of frozen peas into the pan and cover tightly with a lid. Let the peas cook for 3 or 4 minutes until thawed then remove the lid and add 2 generous splashes – about 50ml – of dry sherry. Continue cooking for a minute, then add the clams and cover once again with a lid and bring to the boil over a high heat.

The clams should open after 2 or 3 minutes of steaming but check them as you go. Discard any that refuse to open. Tip the clams, peas and their sherry scented cooking juices into bowls and serve with thick slices of chewy, open-textured bread. Serves 2.

This recipe is also good with mussels instead of clams.

Tarragon would be my herb of choice here. Finely chopped and added when the peas are ready and before the clams.

You could add some cooked pasta – linguine for instance – to the broth, though I would be tempted to cook and shell the clams first.

Clams are easy to overcook. Keeping an eye on them is crucial. Once the shells start to open they are ready. The exact time varies according to the variety. Small clams can take as little as 2 minutes.