Raw razor clams, white currants and fennel

Serves 4 as a starter

Florence: This dish reminds me of my first research trip to Venice. Russell took me to a restaurant called Alle Testiere, where we had the tiniest local razor clams simply prepared in olive oil, white wine and garlic.

I've always loved this neglected bi-valve; in this version, the accompaniment of fennel and mint gives this dish a delicate, feminine quality.

8 large razor clams, alive and cleaned
1 punnet of white currants
1 head of fennel
3 sprigs of mint
The juice of 1 lemon
A pinch of salt
1½tbsp olive oil
½ a red chilli, halved, seeded, roughly chopped

Run the clams under cold running water and gently prise the shells open with a butter knife to reveal the live clam. Remove and discard the gritty sinew at each end of the clam and the black sac in the middle. Rinse again under cold water and slice each clam at an angle.

Remove the outer layer and root of the fennel and thinly slice the bulb with a mandolin or knife. Tear the mint leaves and pick a few white currants off the stem.

Mix together the clam, fennel, chilli, mint and white currants and dress with the lemon juice, olive oil and salt. Be gentle so nothing gets crushed; scatter over your plates.

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