Clams simmered with creamy clam fumet, sweet corn, bacon and basil

This dish is currently on the menu at Cafe Presse (summer 2013).  Clams, unlike mussels, stay firm and delicious all summer long in cool Northwest waters, making possible this summer-y combination of ingredients.



  • 2 1/2lb small clams (very fresh)
  • 1/2lb white fish bones
  • 1/2 small fennel bulb (roughly chopped)
  • 8 cloves garlic (peeled and germ removed)
  • 1 onion (peeled and roughly chopped)
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 sprig flat leaf parsley
  • 1 sprig basil (large)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5 white peppercorns
  • 1 cup white Lillet
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon cold butter
  • 2 Small slices smoked bacon
  • 1 Small shallot


1. Rinse the clams in lots of cold water. Remove 1/2 pound to use for the fumet; keep the rest in the refrigerator covered with a damp cloth. Cut the bacon into lardons, then cook in a large saucepan until crispy. Remove that drain the lardons. Save the bacon fat for the fumet. Shuck the corn and clean well. Cut off the corn kernels. Save the cobs. Stem the basil; set the leaves aside. Save the stems.
2. Add the 1/2 pound clams, chopped onion, fennel, garlic and fish bones to the pan with the bacon fat. Saute over medium heat until the vegetables are soft and the clams and fish carcass cooked through. Do not color.
3. Add the corn cobs, the basil stems, lemon peel, parsley sprig, bay, white pepper and white wine. Bring to a boil and cook rapidly until the wine is almost reduced. Add enough water to cover the solids by about 2 inches. Return to a boil, then reduce the temperature and simmer gently for about 20 minutes.
4. Add the cream and Lillet. Return to a simmer and continue cooking for 5 minutes. Strain and hold warm ready for the final preparation.
Final preparation
5. Peel and shred the shallot. In a large pot pot the remaining clams, the corn, the lardons and the shredded shallot. Add enough fumet so that the clams are almost covered. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the pot and continue cooking until the clams are all just opened. Do not overcook.
6. Check the seasoning and correct with salt if needed (clams bring a lot of salt to the dish, so don’t salt until this point). Add the basil leaves that have been roughly torn and the cold butter. Stir well until the butter is melted and incorporated. Serve immeadiatly.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top