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12 Apr 2021

Fiery clam and lentil skillet

Fiery clam and lentil skillet
Rustica by Theo Michaels, published by Ryland Peters & Small (£16.99) Photography by Mowie Kay © Ryland Peters & Small

This recipe comes from his Mediterranean cookbook Rustic. Theo says: “Clams are not only a tasty treat but also highly sustainable. This deliciously easy skillet supper combines them with earthy puy lentils for a hearty dish laced with smoky notes and fresh herbs. 

Serves: 4
Takes: 45 mins 


200g small, on-the-vine tomatoes
olive oil, for drizzling and frying
150g dried puy lentils
3 garlic cloves, 1 whole, 2 crushed
2 dried bay leaves
a sprig of thyme
1 medium white onion, diced
1 fresh red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 tbsp tomato purée
1kg fresh clams
60ml white wine
handful of flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
few squeezes of fresh lemon juice


  1. Heat oven to 200C, 180C fan, gas 6. Leave the tomatoes attached to the vine and put them on a baking sheet, drizzle with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 15 minutes until the tomato skins start to split. Set aside.
  2. Put the lentils in a saucepan and pour in about 750ml cold water (it should be three times the volume of the lentils) and set over a medium heat. Add the whole garlic clove, bay leaves and thyme sprig to the pan and simmer for 25 mins, or until the lentils are just cooked through. Drain and set aside.
  3. Add a splash of olive oil to a heavy-bottomed frying pan and set over a medium heat. Add the onion and fry until starting to caramelise, then add the crushed garlic cloves and chilli and cook for 1 min. Add the smoked paprika and tomato purée, followed by the clams. Stir to combine, then pour in the wine. Increase the heat to high, cover the pan with a lid and cook until the clams open, shaking the pan occasionally. 
  4. Remove the lid and simmer to reduce the cooking liquor for 1 min, then fold through the cooked lentils and simmer for a few minutes only, until the liquor has thickened and reduced further. Remove from the heat and allow to rest for 5 mins.
  5. To serve, remove the roasted tomatoes from the vine and dot them on top of the clams, scatter over the chopped parsley, add a few squeezes of lemon juice and season with a little salt and pepper, if needed. 

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