Flageolet bean and clam soup
The little legumes and clams in this soup get on like old friends. It's a real treat to eat whole young flageolet beans while the pods are still nice and tender. If the ones you have are older, pop the beans out of the pods, or use fine green beans instead.
200g/7oz fresh young flageolet beans in their pods, trimmed (or use a fine bean of your choice)
1 knob butter
1 tbsp olive oil
2 shallots, finely diced
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 bay leaf
200ml/7fl oz fino sherry if you have some, or dry white wine
2kg clams, shells cleaned
200ml /7fl oz good hot fish stock
3 tbsp double cream
Small bunch flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
Cook the beans in a pan of boiling salted water for 3 minutes, drain and set aside.
Heat the butter and oil in a large pan with a lid that can hold all of the clams. Add the shallots, garlic and bay leaf then cook until soft but without colour. Add the beans and stir to coat with onion then increase the heat and add the fino.
Bubble for a few minutes to reduce and burn off some of the alcohol. Tip in the clams, put the lid on the pan, give it a good shake and cook for 2-3 minutes, until the clams have opened.
Discard any closed clams. Pour in the hot fish stock and cream and stir to distribute through the clams and beans. Scatter with parsley before serving with lots of crusty bread to soak up the juices.
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