Ingredients

1 fennel bulb
¼ teaspoon fennel seeds
1-1½ cups olive oil
12 storm shell clams, shucked, reserve the shells
shichimi togarashi, for sprinkling
This delicate but unusual pairing is for those who love raw seafood.

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Instructions

1.Remove the fennel fronds and set aside (reserve the stalks for another use).
2.Finely chop the fennel bulb and put into a very small saucepan with the fennel seeds and olive oil (the oil should just cover the fennel).
3.Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 20 minutes or until the fennel is meltingly tender.
4.Allow to cool slightly in the oil. Strain off the oil and set aside.
5.Put the fennel in a blender or small food processor with 2 tablespoons of water and ¼ cup of the reserved oil and blend until silky smooth. Adjust seasoning to taste.
6.Refrigerate until required (but bring to room temperature before using).
7.The remaining fennel oil is excellent for finishing fish dishes or over salads.
8.Blanch the shucked clams in boiling, salted water for 10 seconds (this helps to firm up the flesh), plunge into iced water, remove, pat dry.
9.Separate the tongue and adductor muscle from the body (the body isn’t used here, but you could roughly chop it, add some flour and lightly beaten egg to make a fritter to serve alongside).
10.Put a small spoonful of fennel purée in each shell, top with the sliced tongue and aductor, sprinkle lightly with shichimi togarashi and top with a sprig of fennel fronds.

Recipes & food styling Ginny Grant / Photography Aaron McLean / Styling Jessica Hemmings

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