White beans with clams and albariño


  • Serves 6 people

  • 200 gm dried cannellini beans, soaked in cold water overnight, drained
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 onion, halved
  • 1 head of garlic, halved, plus 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 thyme sprig
  • 6 parsley stalks
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 200 gm clams, soaked in salted water, drained
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 250 ml dry white wine, such as albariño
  • 2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped, plus extra, to serve
  • Fish stock
  • 1 kg fish bones, coarsely chopped
  • 50 ml olive oil
  • 100 gm fresh pancetta, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 4 ripe tomatoes, diced
  • 250 ml dry white wine, such as albariño
  • 1 thyme sprig
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 1 tsp white peppercorns
  • 1 pinch of Spanish saffron threads, toasted
01   For fish stock, place fish bones in iced water and refrigerate for 24 hours to remove blood. Drain and set aside. Heat oil in a large saucepan, add pancetta, carrot, onion and celery and stir over medium heat until lightly coloured (2-4 minutes). Add tomato and stir until soft (2-3 minutes). Deglaze with wine, add herbs and peppercorns and cook until reduced by half (2 minutes). Add fish bones and 3 litres water, bring to the boil, simmer over low heat for 1 hour. Add saffron, remove from heat and stand for 4 hours to infuse. Strain through a fine sieve, discarding solids, and set aside. Makes 2 litres.
02   Combine beans, vegetables, head of garlic, cloves, thyme, parsley stalks and fish stock in a large casserole. Bring to the boil and simmer over medium heat until beans are tender (40-50 minutes). Season to taste with sea salt and set aside.
03   Heat oil in a saucepan, add clams, bay leaf and chopped garlic. Cover with a lid and cook for 30 seconds. Add wine, steam for 30 seconds, gently shake pan until clams open (1-2 minutes). Turn off heat and stir through parsley. Toss clams through beans, season to taste and serve immediately scattered with extra parsley.
Note Albariño is a Spanish white wine available from select bottle shops.
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