CLAMS IN BROTH WITH COURGETTE AND PEAS
The light broth, sweet clams and crunchy spring veg in this dish make a delightful combination. It’s a little salty, a little sweet, crunchy, savoury and delicate all at once, with a freshness coming from the raw vegetables. While incredibly light, it’s also wonderfully restorative. Fish broth is the most nourishing and nutrient-dense of all the bone broths, because you boil the whole fish – frame, head and all – and a lot of collagen and gelatine melt into the broth to give it almost insanely good gut-healing qualities. Use a white fish such as snapper or sea bass, not an oily fish. I used borage flowers for decoration, but you could use any edible flowers – try flowers from fragrant herbs such as basil and coriander, or radish and broccoli flowers.
SERVES 4–5 | DAIRY-FREE, GLUTEN-FREE
Start by making the fish broth. Place the fish frames in a large saucepan and add enough cold water to just cover. Add the remaining broth ingredients, and heat on the stove until just barely simmering. Simmer gently for 30–40 minutes – do not let the broth boil, or it can become bitter.
When the broth is ready, strain into a clean pan, discarding the solids.
Taste and add extra seasoning if needed. Keep the broth hot over a low heat. You will need one litre for this recipe.
Wash the radishes and use a peeler to shave them widthways very thinly.
Also use the peeler to shave the courgettes lengthways into ribbons, keeping them separate from the radishes. Set aside.
Bring a kettle to the boil. Place the peas in a heatproof bowl and then pour boiling water over them. Leave for 5 minutes, then drain.
Next, pour ½ cup of hot water from the kettle into a frying pan that has a lid. Bring the water to a rolling boil, add the clams, place the lid on and cook for 4 or 5 minutes, until they are just opening. Turn the heat off and set aside, covered to keep warm.
To serve, ladle the fish broth into 4 or 5 serving bowls, add a few clams to each bowl, and top with courgette ribbons, a handful of peas, shaved radish and some dill leaves. Lastly, sprinkle with a few edible flowers.
Serve this delicate dish while hot, and right away so that the flowers don’t wilt.
2–3 fish frames, head on
1 onion, quartered
3 garlic cloves, lightly crushed
1 stick celery, sliced
1 carrot, cut into chunks
1 bunch of parsley, roughly chopped
3 star anise
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
3 watermelon radishes, or 5–6 regular
2 courgettes, trimmed
1 cup frozen baby peas (petits pois)
bunch of dill, leaves only