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Clam acqua pazza

Clam Acqua Pazza

A quick, simple starter or light lunch that's perfect for sharing, acqua pazza ('crazy water') is an Italian dish popular in and around Naples named after the broth in which fish (or in this case, shellfish) is cooked. This generous bowl of clams cooked with tomatoes, fennel, garlic, white wine and a kick of chilli is guaranteed to have everyone diving in. Make sure there's plenty of bread to soak up the liquid once the clams have gone.

Method 1 This dish all comes together at the last minute, so it is important to have all the ingredients prepped and ready to go before you start cooking

2 Pick through the clams, discarding any which are not tightly closed. Thoroughly wash the clams by soaking them in cold water for 20 minutes so they purge themselves of sand, then rinse a couple more times until the water is clear

1kg palourde clams

3 Making sure you have all the ingredients to hand, heat the olive oil in a large pan over a medium-high heat

  • 4 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling

4 Add the garlic and gently sauté for about a minute, making sure it doesn't brown. Add the sliced fennel and shallots, sauté for a further minute then add the tomatoes and chilli flakes. Cook the tomatoes for a few minutes until they just start to break down, giving a few of them a squish to release their juices

  • 3 garlic cloves, finely sliced

  • 1/2 fennel, finely sliced

  • 1 large shallot, finely sliced

  • 200g of datterino tomatoes, or cherry tomatoes, halved

  • 1 tsp chilli flakes

5 Add the clams and the wine, cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook for 3-5 minutes until all the shells have popped open

  • 100ml of white wine

6 While the clams cook, place a cast-iron skillet or griddle pan over a high heat, drizzle the sourdough with a little olive oil and char on both sides

  • sourdough bread, thickly sliced, to serve

7 Add the chopped parsley and a squeeze of lemon juice to the clams and gently stir through, seasoning with more salt if needed. Ladle into hot bowls (or a single serving dish) with slices of the charred sourdough and finish with a drizzle of olive oil and a few extra lemon wedges

  • 2 tbsp of chopped parsley

  • 1 lemon

  • salt

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