Sunday 21 January 2018

Roast cod and clams with bacon mash, creamy shallot sauce and spinach

Georgina Campbell

PREPARATION TIME 1 hour 30 minutes



For the cod 4 thick cod fillets, 160g (5¾oz) each

A little seasoned flour

75g (2½oz) unsalted butter

2 tbsps rapeseed oil

750g (1lb 10oz) baby spinach For the bacon mash 6 rashers smoked dry-cure streaky bacon, rind removed

1½kg (3lb 3oz) Maris Piper potatoes cut into 7.5cm (3in) pieces

50g (1¾oz) unsalted butter

White pepper

For the shallot sauce 1kg (2¼lb) Venus or palourde clams, scrubbed and soaked for two hours in salted water (use cockles if clams are unavailable)

½ large glass of dry white wine (nothing oaky)

2 shallots or 1 small onion, very finely chopped

300ml (10fl oz) double cream

1 heaped tbsp thyme leaves

Juice of ½ lemon

1Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4. For the mash, put the bacon on a non-stick baking tray in the oven for about 10 minutes until crisp. Cool and crumble, reserving a few rashers for the garnish. Boil the potatoes for about 20 minutes until tender. Drain, return to the pan, add the butter and mash well. Season with the white pepper and stir in the bacon.

2To make the sauce, put the clams in a large pan with the wine and half the shallots. Cook, covered, over a high heat -- shaking from time to time -- for about four-and-a-half minutes until the clams have opened. Discard any that haven't. Drain into a colander over a bowl to catch the juice. Reserve 12 of the clams in their shells for garnish and shell the rest.

3Pour the clam juice into a pan and add the remaining shallots. Simmer for 10 minutes until reduced slightly, then add the cream. Simmer for a further five minutes then, if you wish, blend until smooth using a hand blender. Add the thyme and clam meat and check the seasoning, adding a little lemon juice. Keep the sauce warm.

4 To cook the cod, coat the skin side with seasoned flour. Put 50g (1¾oz) butter and the oil in a non-stick ovenproof frying pan over medium heat until frothing. Put the fish in, skin-side down, and cook until the fish turns white halfway up its sides. Baste with the oil and butter once, then put it in the oven for seven to eight minutes, or until opaque.

5In the meantime, heat the remaining butter and add the washed spinach. Cook until wilted, then season and drain it.

6 To serve, spoon mash on each plate. Top with three clams in their shells, spinach, a piece of cod and some bacon. Pour the sauce around the fish and over the top.

Irish Independent

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