This recipe for razor clams balances them with sweet leeks and brioche, in a sumptuous bake.
700g/1lb 9oz clams
700g/1lb 9oz razor clams
125ml/4fl oz white wine
300g/10½oz leeks, sliced thickly
4 sprigs thyme, leaves picked
2 shallots, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, finely diced
1 tbsp plain flour
125ml/4fl oz double cream
salt and freshly ground black pepper
75g/3oz brioche loaf, cut into 1cm/½in dice
50g/2oz cheddar, finely grated
knob of butter
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
Heat a large frying pan until hot, add both types of clams and white wine then cover and cook until the clams have opened.
Drain the clams, reserving the liquid, and pick the clams from the shells.
Roughly chop the razor clams, discarding the gut, and set aside in the fridge until needed.
Heat a frying pan until medium hot, add a third of the butter, the leeks and half the thyme and gently fry for a few minutes until softened. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Return the empty frying pan to the heat, add 50g/2oz of the butter and the shallots, garlic and remaining thyme leaves and gently fry for two minutes until softened.
Add the flour and cook for a minute to cook out the flour, stirring all the time.
Whisk in the reserved clam liquour, a little at a time, to form a thin sauce.
Add the cream and continue to cook for a couple of minutes until just thickened.
Add the clam meat and stir well then season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Meanwhile, heat a separate frying pan until hot, add the last of the butter and the diced brioche and cook until the brioche has turned golden-brown on all sides.
Season the brioche with a little salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Layer the leeks into an ovenproof dish, top with the clam sauce and the brioche then make another layer, finishing with brioche on the top.
Sprinkle the cheddar cheese over the top and place in the oven for 5-10 minutes until golden-brown and bubbling.
Bring a pan of salted water to the boil, add the peas and return to a simmer. Once up to a simmer, drain the peas and finish with a knob of butter.
To serve, spoon the clam bake onto the plate and pile the peas alongside.
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James is joined by world-class chefs Claude Bosi, Daniel Clifford and Elena Arzak.
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