24 large clams
2 slices streaky bacon, finely chopped
2 spring onions, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs – any combination of flat-leaf parsley, basil, oregano or marjoram
1 clove garlic, crushed
pinch chilli flakes
¼ cup panko crumbs
2 tablespoons olive oil
Preheat the oven to 200˚C.
Spread an ovenproof platter or baking dish with a layer of rock salt. Choose a dish suitable for serving as the salt will set hard during cooking, so the clams can be served on this.
Topping: Combine the ingredients in a bowl and season.
Soak the clams in a bowl of clean, lightly salted water for 30 minutes so they spit out any sand. Drain well.
To open the clams, hold over a bowl and insert a round bladed knife between the two shells and twist to open. Pull off and discard the top shell and loosen the clam meat in the bottom shell. Drain any excess liquid otherwise the topping will stew in the juices and not crisp up.
Nestle the clams in the salt.
Top each clam with a spoonful of topping and bake for about 10 minutes or until just cooked through. Serve hot or warm with lemon wedges. Makes 24.
It’s best to buy clams on the day you are going to cook them. Choose shellfish that are tightly closed and as soon as you’re home, tip them out of the plastic bag into a bowl, cover with wet paper towels and refrigerate.
Panko crumbs: flakey Japanese dried bread crumbs that create a deliciously crunchy crust. They are readily available from Asian stores and good supermarkets.