Thomasina Miers' recipe for clams with wild garlic and nut picada | The Simple Fix

When it comes to fast food, clams take the crown. There’s no fussy prep needed and they’re cooked in minutes. Here, I’ve given them a Catalan spin with a bread and nut picada to thicken the cooking juices, flavoured with chilli and wild garlic (which is now in season). If you can’t get your hands on any, fry a couple of garlic cloves with the bread instead, adding chopped parsley for colour and flavour.

Clams with wild garlic, almond and hazelnut picada

You can get sweet, earthy ancho chillies online or in larger supermarkets. However, you can also use any dried red chilli in its place or skip it completely.

Prep 15 min
Cook 15 min
Serves 4

½ ancho chilli, de-seeded, or 1 pinch dried chilli flakes (optional)
120ml extra-virgin olive oil
1 large, thick slice of day-old white bread
40g skinless almonds
40g skinless hazelnuts
10 wild garlic leaves, washed
1 small handful thyme leaves

For the clams
150ml dry white wine (try a Spanish albariño)
1.75kg clams, rinsed (discard any opened or damaged ones)

Put a small frying pan over a medium heat. If using the ancho chilli, toast for 15 seconds a side until fragrant, then transfer to another pan and cover with boiling water.

Add two tablespoons of oil to the frying pan, turn down the heat and, once the oil is hot, gently fry the bread on both sides until crisp and golden. Remove the bread, chop into small chunks, then put in a food processor. In the same pan (no need to wipe out the oil), gently fry the nuts until they start turning golden – about three to four minutes. Put into a food processor with the bread, and pulse to fine breadcrumbs.

Drain the ancho chilli and pulse with four tablespoons of the oil and a tablespoon of water. Add the wild garlic and thyme, and pulse until you have a paste-like consistency (if you pulse the garlic too much, the flavour can be overpowering). Season with sea salt and the dried chilli flakes, if using.

Heat the wine in a small pan. Put a large, wide pan with a lid over the highest heat and, once hot, add two tablespoons of oil and the clams. Cover and shake the clams vigorously for a minute, then pour in the white wine. Cover again and cook for three to four minutes, until all the clams are open (discard any that aren’t). Use a slotted spoon to transfer the clams to four bowls, reserving the liquid.

Stir the picada into the liquid, then spoon over the clams. Serve with a splash of extra-virgin olive oil, fresh bread and a crisp, green salad.

And for the rest of the week

The picada is delicious in soups – try stirring into a seasonal potato and watercress soup for a nutty twist. Leftover wild garlic makes an insanely good garlic bread. It lasts well, too – just blitz with olive oil, then store in the fridge under a slick of oil for up to 10 days. Stir through pasta or drizzle over a cheesy jacket potato.


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