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Mussels and Clams with Tomatoes

Mussels and clams are surprisingly good value and their flavour goes well with the acid touch from the tomatoes. Cooked this way the shellfish flavours are fairly similar although textures are different. If you can't get clams, add extra mussels and vice versa.

ingredients

serves 2 - 3
900 g (2 lb) fresh mussels
450 g (1 lb) small clams, such as venus clams
25 g (1 oz) butter
1 - 2 large garlic cloves, skinned and crushed
1 small onion, skinned and finely chopped
150 ml (1/4 pint) dry white wine
225 g (8 oz) ripe tomatoes, chopped
finely grated rind of 1 lemon
30 ml (2 tsp) chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper

method

1. To prepare the mussels, wash them thoroughly under running cold water, then scrape off any barnacles with a small sharp knife. Cut off the fibrous beards that protrude from between the shells. Wash in several changes of water. Discard any cracked mussels, or any that do not close when tapped sharply with a knife.

2. Scrub the clams thoroughly and discard any that are cracked or open.

3. Melt the butter in a large pan, add the garlic and onion and cook gently for a few minutes, until the onion is softened. Add the wine, tomatoes, lemon rind and half of the parsley. Bring to the boil.

4. Add the mussels and the clams to the pan, cover and cook over a high heat for 3 -4 minutes or until the mussels and clams are open, shaking the pan occasionally. Discard any mussels or clams that have not opened.

5. Season to taste. Transfer to two large bowls or soup plates and sprinkle with the remaining parsley. Serve with lots of crusty bread.

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