Steamed Clams with Ratatouille

ratatouille.jpg

Mention "Cloudy Bay" to anyone and chances are, the conversation will turn to the acclaimed wines produced by that region. Lesser known, but just as outstanding are the clams fished along this famous stretch of New Zealand's coastline. One of my favourites is the moon shell clam, named for its beautifully rounded shape. Their flavour is unmistakable and in this recipe, I've paired them with sweet summer vegetables. And it works just as well with tuatua and diamond shell clams. Enjoy.

- James

Ingredients

  • 10 red cherry tomatoes
  • 10 yellow cherry tomatoes
  • 3T olive oil
  • 1 eggplant, diced
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 1 yellow capsicum, diced
  • 1 red capsicum, diced
  • 2 courgettes, diced
  • 1 T tomato puree
  • 1/2T chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2T torn fresh basil leaves, plus extra to serve
  • 2kg Cloudy Bay clams (moon shell, diamond shell or tuatua work equally well)
  • 200mL white wine
  • 3T olive oil
  • 1 lemon, juiced

Method - ratatouille

  1. Season red and yellow cherry tomatoes and lightly coat with olive oil. Bake in oven at 180ºC for 10 minutes or until lightly blistered.
  2. Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat and add the eggplant. Cook for 5-6 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
  3. Add the onion to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes, then add the capsicum and cook for a further 5 minutes.
  4. Return the eggplant to the pan and stir in tomato purée. Add tomatoes, thyme and garlic.
  5. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the blistered tomatoes.

Method - steamed clams

  1. Heat large pot with sealed lid on a high heat.
  2. Add moon shell clams, white wine, olive oil, lemon juice and cover with lid.
  3. After about 4 minutes, the clams will start to open. At this point, remove the clams as they open and place into a large serving dish. This will prevent the clams from over-cooking and going chewy.
  4. Once all clams are cooked and in serving dish, cover them with hot ratatouille and garnish with freshly picked basil and olive oil. Serve hot with crusty bread to soak up the sauce.