Ingredients

2kg Cloudy Bay clams
500ml dry white wine
250ml extra-virgin olive oil
1 bulb fennel, finely sliced
2 banana shallots, finely sliced
1 carrot, peeled and finely sliced
½ teaspoon coriander seeds
½ teaspoon whole black peppercorns
2 sprigs lemon thyme
125g granulated sugar
125ml water
1 jalapeño, halved and seeded
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
125ml chardonnay vinegar
125ml sherry vinegar
lightly toasted baguette slices, to serve
aioli (optional)
dill fronds, to serve
AIOLI (MAKES 250ML)
1½ cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon sugar
juice of ¼ lemon
250ml mayonnaise
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Instructions

1.Rinse the clams thoroughly under running water.
2.Add the dry white wine to a large saucepan set over medium-high heat. Bring the wine to a simmer and let it gently bubble for a few seconds to burn off some of the alcohol.
3.Add the clams to the pan, cover and steam.
4.Uncover the pan and use tongs or a slotted spoon to move any of the clams that have already opened to a large bowl.
5.Cover the pan again, checking and removing the opened clams every 30 seconds. Discard any clams that have not opened after 3-4 minutes of following this process.
6.Once the clams are cool enough to handle, separate the meat from the shells, placing the meat into a clean, heatproof bowl and discarding the shells.
7.In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over a medium-low heat.
8.Add the fennel, shallot and carrot and a pinch or two of salt, and sweat until translucent, about 7 minutes.
9.Meanwhile, combine the coriander seeds, black peppercorns and lemon thyme sprigs and create a sachet by putting them into a double layered square of cheesecloth, bringing the sides together to form a pouch and securing with kitchen string.
10.Add the sachet, sugar, 125ml water, jalapeño, garlic and vinegars to the pan of vegetables. Simmer and cook until slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. The vegetables should be tender but not mushy.
11.Remove the sachet from the mixture and discard.
12.Pour the escabeche mixture through a fine-mesh sieve held over the bowl of clams.
13.Allow to cool for about 10 minutes, then cover and chill well.
14.Transfer the vegetables from the sieve to a separate bowl, cover and chill until ready to serve.
15.If you wish to make the aioli, pound the garlic and salt into a paste.
16.Add the sugar and lemon juice and mix well.
17.Add to the mayonnaise and mix well.
18.To serve, bring the clams and vegetables to room temperature.
19.Spread toasted baguette slices with a thin swipe of aioli (if using).
20.Top with clams and vegetables.
21.Garnish with a drizzle of the escabeche liquid and dill fronds.

Recipes & food styling Sean Connolly / Photography Jamie Bowering

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