Foraging in & around the sea is a great pastime and spearfishing is amongst the best, if not the very best sustainable way to catch fish. There is no by-product, because we only take what we can eat and only spear fish that are edible & legal size. But this year’s weather has made it very difficult to get into the sea and then add in my poor spearfishing skills, I have only managed to bring home three bass this season!
So I decided to go back to a great local spot to increase my total, but after 2 hours of looking I hadn’t spotted a single bass! So out deeper to find some scallops and maybe a nice plaice. Half an hour later I had only found two scallops, now I was feeling chilly so time to head to shore! Swimming slowly over a reef a bass of around 3lb came swimming past, I shot and now I had a bass and two scallops for dinner!
I decided that a spicy pasta dish would go well with my fishy goodies, I just need a few clams which I collected in the shallows! On my way home I also stopped off to pick a bunch of marsh samphire that would add a colour & saltiness to the pasta.
My clams (plus a couple of rouge cockles!) I soaked in cold fresh water for about 4 hours rinsed well several times and scrubbed them clean, then rinsed again. I cooked them in 200ml white wine for two to three minutes; best to discard any that don’t open. I then removed them from the shells, leaving a few for garnish.
This is a good base pasta dish that you can use to create some wonderful fishy dishes, cooked with clams; or use prawns, crab or squid or even a combination. But if they are uncooked add to the sauce just before the pasta.
Serves 2 (very healthy portions!!)
1kg clams (or less if served with fish)
2 cloves garlic
2 chillies finely sliced
2 shallots or one small onion, finely chopped
400g can chopped tomatoes
2 fresh tomatoes, quartered
1 teaspoon tomato puree
200ml white wine (that you cooked your clams in)
Small bunch parsley, finely chopped
2 tablespoons finely sliced basil leaves.
Sea Salt & pepper
top-tip: to slice basil leaves, lay large leaves on top of each other, roll them tightly into a cigar shape and slice to thin ribbons.
Add to a large frying pan the garlic, chillies, onions, tomatoes and tomato puree, cook for two minutes. Season with salt & Pepper
Cook the pasta as instructed on the packet, drain and add to the pasta
Tip in the parsley, wine and clams and stir, adding stock from the pasta to loosen the sauce if needed
Scatter the sliced basil over the top and serve
Here I added blanched samphire and topped off with fillets of bass and scallops fried in oil & butter.